Injured Italy captain Alessandro Troncon hopes to be back in action sooner than expected after a successful knee operation.
The scrum-half was expected to miss five months after picking up an injury playing for the New Zealand Barbarians before Christmas.
He said: "My knee is a lot better now. I think from next week I will be able to start training and running, but without force too much. Maybe I will be back in a little less than five months."
Meanwhile, lock forward Gaston Llanos has been given the go-ahead to play for Italy, much to the player's delight.
The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) have confirmed that the Padova second row, born in Argentina but an Italian passport holder, is available for selection.
The 23-year-old, part of John Kirwan's 38-man training squad for the RBS 6 Nations, said: "My great grandfather was Italian and even before I arrived in Padova three years ago, I had already chosen Italian citizenship.
"I have never represented the Pumas (Argentina) at any level," Llanos told the federation's official website, www.federugby.it.
"It has been wonderful to be called by Kirwan, I am really proud to be part of this group."