Matthew Rees could make his first appearance for Wales since February 2013 in South Africa
Warren Gatland could turn to veteran Matthew Rees to solve his problems at hooker ahead of Wales' summer tour of South Africa the coach has admitted.
Richard Hibbard looks likely to miss the trip after undergoing surgery on a shoulder injury, and Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips is also unavailable following treatment for another shoulder problem.
Fellow Scarlets forward Ken Owen is likely to be the first choice hooker for the two-Test trip for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations champions, but Rees could receive a remarkable call-up after his recovering from testicular cancer.
Former Wales skipper Rees, a Grand Slam winner in 2008 and 2012, has only played a handful of games for the Cardiff Blues since being given the all clear.
But the 33-year-old has been a vital part of their victories against Ulster, Edinburgh and the Scarlets in recent weeks.
"Everybody was willing Matthew on in his recovery from illness and was delighted to see him return to the playing field," Gatland told WalesOnline.
"He's in the best nick I've seen him in for a long time physically and the experience of Matthew and Gethin Jenkins has been important in the recent turnaround of the Blues.
"You only have to see the difference those two make with their knowledge, know-how, talking and cajoling a young team, and their sheer desire to win.
"Matthew is certainly one the Wales selectors will be watching before we name the squad for the tour of South Africa.
"What he has got is experience you can't buy and he's certainly in the shake-up to make the squad for the demanding assignments we face in the summer.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young insists it was with Joe Launchbury's best interests in mind that surgery was called for to decompress a nerve in his neck - ruling him out of England' RBS 6 Nations opener.