Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young says fullback Ben Blair could make an earlier than expected comeback from injury ahead of next weekend's crucial Heineken Cup clash with Gloucester.
The New Zealander had been expected to miss the two remaining Pool Six games after breaking a bone in his hand in the New Year's Eve defeat to the Ospreys. But could feauture in the team that travel to to Kingsholm on January 18.
"Ben does have a small fracture, but the surgeon has said there is no reason why he can't play next week," Young told the Western Mail. "He can't make it any worse. It's down to Ben really and how he feels. He is in training and catching and passing."
"Hopefully, he will be fit for Gloucester, if not next week then certainly the week after against Calvisano."
The Blues were further bolstered this weekend by the return of Xavier Rush and Jamie Roberts for the Magners League clash with Leinster. Kiwi No.8 Rush has only had 40 minutes of rugby this season because of a knee injury, while Roberts fractured his skull during Wales' victory over Australia at the end of November. Both men start on the bench for the match at the RDS in Dublin.
The Blues are also waiting on the fitness of Wales flanker Martyn Williams who aggravated a shoulder injury in the Magners league defeat to the Ospreys last week.
"He's had an injection just to settle it down," said Young. "It's not a structural injury that needs operating on. It's a total impact injury. It just needs to settle down. He's done nothing this week and we will look at him in the middle of next week.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.