Springbok lock RG Snyman is close to returning to action, and according to Munster forwards Graham Rowntree, "looks fit, big and scary".
The 6-foot-9 second rower has been sidelined since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on debut for Munster last August.
But the 26-year-old has now progressed to the final stages of his rehabilitation and could return to full squad training next week.
Speaking ahead of Munster opening Rainbow Cup clash with rivals Leinster on Saturday, Rowntree said he was thrilled to see the Rugby World Cup winner on the mend.
"He's not got any smaller, that's for sure. He's fitting in nicely, he has been in and out doing a few bits of scrummaging, not full eight-on-eight stuff, and contact work with us this week. We'll progress that," Rowntree was quoted as saying by the Irish Examiner website.
"A lot of this stuff, we have to see how he reacts to every change of level we put him through. He’s getting well managed, looks fit, looks big, looks scary. We're delighted to have him back in next week, hopefully, for full training."
Snyman, who boasts 23 Test caps, played for the Bulls between 2015 and 2019 and also spent time at Japanese club Honda Heat (2017-2020).
His return to action will be welcome news for Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber ahead of the British & Irish Lions series.
Lock Eben Etzebeth is also recovering from a broken finger, while second row partner, Lood de Jager, recently underwent an operation after a leg fracture suffered on the training ground at his English club Sale Sharks.
Etzebeth is expected to be ready in time to face the Lions but there is serious doubt over De Jager, who ruled out for 14 weeks at the beginning of April.