It is almost two years since Norm Maxwell pulled on a Crusaders jersey but he is set to make a Super 12 return on Saturday.
The rangy lock – who is likely to feature for the All Blacks against the Lions in the summer – took time out to go travelling during the 2004 Super 12 season and only returned to rugby last year for Canterbury’s National Provincial Championship campaign.
He sat out the opening three rounds of this year’s Super 12 because of persistent lower back pain but is fit to face the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.
"We’re considering him seriously," Crusaders coach Robbie Deans told The Press newspaper.
"He’s been building a volume of work over time and is obviously still going to be underdone but the way Maxy plays the game he’s full noise and will give it all he’s got."
Maxwell’s return to fitness is timely, with lock Ross Filipo and number eight Sam Broomhall on the casualty list.
Blindside flanker Reuben Thorne, who played half of last weekend’s match against the Reds at lock, is nursing a bruised lower back, though Deans is hopeful the former All Blacks skipper will have recovered enough to take on the Blues.
Maxwell’s last match was for the All Blacks in their 45-6 win over France in Paris last November.