Scarlets: Morgan Stoddart ready to face Dragons
WALES international Morgan Stoddart could make his long-awaited return to action on Friday night, 14 months after being stretchered off in a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham.
The 28-year-old full-back is in line to be named in the Scarlets' match-day squad for the RaboDirect Pro12 clash with the Dragons in Llanelli after making a full recovery from the horrific double break of the left leg he suffered playing for Wales against England in August 2011.
It has been a long and frustrating road back for Stoddart, who has a metal rod running through the tibia from his knee down to his ankle.
There were hopes that he may return at the end of last season, but the leg wasn't considered strong enough.
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And he has had to wait until six weeks into the new campaign to make his much-anticipated comeback.
"I have been more or less in full training for the last two weeks and I am available for selection. It is up to the coaches now," said Stoddart.
"It has been a slow process, something like 13 or 14 months, but I am glad to be at the end of it.
"It took quite a while for the leg to settle down and for me to get used to running again with all that metalwork in my leg.
"Last season, as time went on, I wasn't progressing as fast as first thought so I wasn't ready for the end of last season.
"And this season it has been all about building the actual power in my leg. I was getting soreness and stiffness after training, but now it is pretty much back to normal.
"In training I am feeling sharp and feeling good, but obviously I know that games are different.
"It is about maybe getting 10 to 15 minutes to see how it goes and then building each week from there."
Stoddart paid tribute to the work of the physios, coaching staff and players at Parc y Scarlets for helping him in his rehabilitation.
"Everyone has been great. My family, the physios here and also just being around the boys. Even though you are not playing, it is good to be part of it all."
Stoddart will return as the senior member of the Scarlets back division following the summer departures of Stephen Jones and Sean Lamont.
"That seems pretty strange because not so long ago I was one of the youngest," he added. "But it is great to see all the young players coming through. They have all taken their chance and the back three, in particular, are looking sharp, scoring tries and playing well.
"We were flying after three games then the Ospreys came down here and caught us cold. And even though it is always tough to win in Treviso we should have won, a couple of charge downs cost us.
"But we are still up at the end of the table where we want to be and hopefully we can get a win this weekend before going into Europe next weekend.
"Clermont away are the games everyone wants to be involved in."
Meanwhile, Stoddart's brother Hywel — who made his Dragons debut earlier this season — could miss the rest of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury playing for Newport on Saturday.
Former Scarlets back- rower Nic Cudd has been named in the Dragons' squad for Friday's match.