Simon Taylor is adamant he will be ready to play some part in this year's RBS 6 Nations tournament.
The 35-times capped Scotland international completed his first full half of rugby in almost a year on Wednesday night and he was upbeat about his chances of forcing his way back into the international fold.
Taylor, who was recently described as 'the one truly world class player in Scotland' by former captain Chris Paterson, has been through a traumatic year.
He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee playing against Ireland in the tournament last March, the second time in three years that he had seriously damaged the same knee, and his road to recovery has proved far from straightforward.
But after several setbacks, the 25-year-old is finally back on the pitch, some two months overdue, and he is relishing the prospect of getting involved in the international scene again.
Speaking tafter completing 40 minutes for Premiership side Saracens - who he has been on loan with for the last week - in a friendly game against Johannesburg-based Super 12 franchise The Cats, Taylor admitted there were times he feared his career was over.
But having battled his way back to fitness, the outstanding Scottish player of his generation insists the the RBS 6 Nations is now a realistic aim.
''Of course I want to get into the Scotland squad for the Six Nations,'' Taylor said.
"I would like to get back for at least a game or two at the end of the tournament, but I will have to play it by ear. But playing for Scotland is my aim.''
Despite his eagerness to get back into the national side, Taylor is realistic enough not to look too far ahead, and he realises that after Scotland's impressive opening against France, competition for a place in the back row is intense.
''Especially after Saturday, the back row is looking pretty competitive,'' Taylor said.
''They all played well and they were all fairly prominent. Ali Hogg has done really well after struggling a little bit in his first games in the Six Nations last year.''
Wales flanker Sam Warburton admits he will be proud to lead his country out for a record 34th time this weekend and hopes to cap the day off with a memorable RBS 6 Nations victory against in-form Ireland.