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.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
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'.