Former South Africa captain Victor Matfield has come out of retirement after signing a two-year contract for the Super Rugby Bulls.
Matfield, 36, hung up his boots initially after featuring for the Barbarians in November 2011 while his 110th and final Test appearance for the Springboks was during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
The veteran lock has been training since August last year in preparation for his comeback and is understood to be in good physical condition.
Matfield is believed to be striving for another chance to appear at a World Cup and has kept up to speed with the game as a coach of the Bulls line-out during his self-imposed hiatus.
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, formerly Bulls boss, welcomed the forward's return as a player despite admitting he could not guarantee him a return to the international fold.
He said: "(Matfield) was not given any guarantees about Springbok selection. If he can show he still has what it takes to be a Springbok, he will be considered."