Will Genia looks set to give the Wallabies a double boost as they look ahead to next summer’s Lions tour.
Genia, who is currently sidelined with a serious knee injury, is being tipped to return to action a full four months before the Test series against Britain and Ireland’s elite kicks off in Brisbane.
And, as if the fitness boot wasn’t good enough news on its own, the 23-year-old is ready to confirm his commitment to his country by re-signing with the Australian Rugby Union.
Genia has already extended his current deal with the Reds by a further three years yet he publicly stated that he remained on the open market just four days ago.
But any fears that the 41-cap star could be about to head overseas are likely to be allayed sometime this week, with Reds CEO Jim Carmichael convinced he will remain Down Under and be back on the field of play again for the second round of the 2013 Super Rugby season.
"I don't think there was ever any time where Will didn't want to be in Australia because otherwise he wouldn't have re-signed with the Reds," said Reds CEO.
"He's got a little bit of a spring in his one step and he's even champing at the bit about coming back for our first home game against the Waratahs (on February 23).
"If anyone can come back from that injury faster than normal it's Will.
"He tells me he's a little bit ahead of schedule and he's hoping."
Genia has been unavailable for the Wallabies since the home win over South Africa in the third game of the Rugby Championship.
He captained Australia to victory against the Springboks but reconstructive surgery has meant he missed the return fixture, plus the home and away games with Argentina and Saturday’s Beldisloe Cup draw with the All Blacks.
Head coach Robbie Deans will also be forced to do without one of his most influential players for next month’s tour of Europe when the Wallabies play back-to-back Tests against France, England, Italy and Wales.
Deans is expected to go against tradition and pick just two scrum-halves for the tour, with Nick Phipps of the Rebels and Brett Sheehan from the Force the likely candidates.