Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger has been cleared to return to training after a year of injury and illness saw him spend six weeks in hospital and another eight weeks indoors after contracting a potentially serious infection.
Burger's South African team Western Province says he can plan a return to field training, having already begun his comeback in the gym.
The 30-year-old Burger, capped 68 times for South Africa, hasn't played since injuring his knee in the opening game of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
He then had a calf problem and needed surgery on a cyst on his spine, and contracted bacterial meningitis in the hospital.
Burger didn't commit to a date for a comeback match but said "the good news is that I can start training properly."
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