Scotland's midfield options have received a boost with news that Matt Scott should be fit for their opening World Cup warm-up game.
The Edinburgh centre has been out of action since March when he suffered a shoulder injury against Ireland in the Six Nations which required surgery.
Vern Cotter's centre stocks have been decimated this season, with Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett and Duncan Taylor all struggling with injuries.
However Scott is edging closer to a return, and expects to be ready by the time the Scots travel to Dublin to take on Ireland on August 15.
"It is realistic, that is what I am targeting," he told the Scotsman.
"I had to get my AC joint cleaned up, it was inflamed and causing me all sorts of trouble. One of my anchors from my previous operation had come a bit loose and there was a bone fragment in there causing me a bit of irritation, so I had to get that re-sewn up. There was no real lasting damage.
"I didn’t know that until I went into the operation when she [the surgeon] said it could be as routine as it turned out to be or if it had been a tear – it could have been four to six months, which would have been a really tight time schedule. I was delighted with the result.
"Everything I try to do is inhibited by my shoulder, I just felt I could not put in a good performance. Physically with rugby nowadays, if you are not physically near the top you are going to struggle on the pitch, no matter how sharp you are feeling skills-wise.
"My body was just not able to do what I wanted it to do. It has been tough, I wanted to keep positive and control everything I can control.
"I have been taking a bit of contact, which has been fine. It is just a case of building it up before I can go in full smash. I got the all-clear a week ago. I had a test at the hospital, strength and endurance in it, and it was way better than it was last time I came back from the last operation.
"I don’t know what that meant, if the last operation was not as strong or the operation did not work as well. I know I am stronger than the last time I came back, which is a comfort I suppose."