England flanker Lewis Moody will return to action on Saturday following his RBS 6 Nations heartache, with Leicester boss Pat Howard claiming: "He looks in great nick."
Moody, capped 44 times and a key part of England head coach Brian Ashton’s World Cup plans, missed the entire 6 Nations tournament after undergoing shoulder surgery.
But he has recovered ahead of schedule to claim a starting place when Leicester tackle EDF Energy Cup semi-final opponents Sale Sharks at the Millennium Stadium.
Howard said: "The medical staff have done a fantastic job in getting him ready.
"He looks in great nick too, and we are happy to have him in contention and happy to have the back row together again that has played such a major part in our European campaign."
Leicester, still on course for a trophy treble of EDF silverware, Heineken Cup and Guinness Premiership title, are further strengthened by returning England quartet Martin Corry, Harry Ellis, George Chuter and Louis Deacon.
Corry reverts to number eight following two second-row appearances for England, but while Ellis, Chuter and Deacon also start, England prop Julian White sits out the Cardiff clash.
Howard added: "Julian White has been carrying a bit of an injury, but we are happy to welcome the guys back, not just the England players, but also Geordan Murphy who has been away too."
Howard has handed the fly-half role to Paul Burke – Andy Goode is among the replacements – and the Irishman’s partnership alongside Ellis could be crucial to deciding the contest as Tigers target revenge following last season’s 45-20 Premiership final drubbing against Sale at Twickenham.
Howard said: "We have all three fly-halves available, and the competition is very tight at the moment.