Wales centre Tom Shanklin is close to making his long-awaited comeback from injury, but admits he will not be fully fit until next year.
The Cardiff Blues back, one of the stars of Wales' 2005 RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam triumph, missed most of last season after tearing knee cartilage against Ulster.
Seven months of strict rehabilitation dispelled fears Shanklin's career might be over, but the 26-year-old is remaining cautious as he embarks on a strenuous exercise regime with the Blues.
He told icwales.co.uk: ''It's not 100 per cent yet, but it's good. It will probably be next year before it's right, but it will get better with time.
''I've done a fair bit of training. I spent a lot of last season on a bike, doing circuits and swimming.
''I still do that stuff, but I'm also back doing running sessions. If my knee is a little bit sore, I don't have to do them. It's all about looking after it.''
Shanklin underwent surgery soon after injuring his knee and had recovered sufficiently to be named in the Lions squad for last summer's tour to New Zealand.
But the knee problem flared up again and he was forced to return home before the first Test, so he is unsurprisngly wary of setting too many targets.
''I just have to make a good start to the season for the Blues, but yes, it would be nice to play in the autumn internationals, the Six Nations and the World Cup,'' the 33-times-capped three-quarter said.
''But I've learnt anything can happen with injuries, so it's wise not to plan too far ahead.
''Now I just want to get back playing. Hopefully, if I play well, I will get back in the Wales team.''
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.