Mike Phillips is set to hand the Ospreys a boost after being pencilled in for a return to action against Connacht next month.
The scrum-half has been sidelined since suffering ligament damage during the Heineken Cup win over Clermont Auvergne at the Liberty Stadium in October, but he will be stepping up his rehab in the coming weeks with a view to featuring in the Magners League game against the Irish side at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday 21st February (KO 5pm).
Ospreys Physio, Chris Towers, confirmed:
"Mike is now twelve weeks post-op following repair of ankle ligaments he damaged in October. Over the last 4 weeks since coming out of plaster he has undertaken an intensive rehabilitation and treatment programme which we've been running in conjuction with the WRU medical team, and we're all satisfied that clinically he couldn't be any better at this stage of his recovery.
"He is now entering a phase of progressive functional rehab with a return to play in mind. If he continues his current progress with no hiccups or setbacks over the coming weeks, then he has a realistic chance of being available for game time in mid-February.
"Looking at the fixture list, we are targeting the Connacht fixture for his return. However, as with any of our players returning from long term injury or following surgery we will be looking to limit his game time initially, gradually building this up over a number of weeks, as this initial return to play period remains an important, ongoing part of his recovery to full health and fitness in terms of his ankle."
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.