Springboks loose forward Schalk Burger will make a welcome return to competitive rugby this week.
The 30-year-old has been picked on the bench for Currie Cup team Western Province for Friday's game against Free State Cheetahs.
It is a major step for the player, who played a key role in South Africa's World Cup triumph in 2007, after injury and illness have left him sidelined for 18 months.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said: "I don't think Schalk will get more than 20 minutes ... but it's all part of his comeback."
Burger's problems began when he injured his knee in the opening game of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
He then suffered a calf problem and needed surgery on a cyst on his spine before he contracted bacterial meningitis while in hospital.
He spent six weeks in the hospital and another eight weeks indoors during his recovery from the infection.
Capped 68 times, he has not played a Test for South Africa since 2011.