When Wales second row Luke Charteris had suffered a minor fracture in his hand in January, it was hoped that he will miss only the Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome.
But the hand injury, along with a hamstring problem kept him away for a longer period, making him unavailable for the subsequent match against England as well.
Now, the Welshman expects to start against Ireland on Friday, March 10, after making a second-half appearance in the 29-13 defeat to Scotland, suffered in late February.
The soon to-be 34-year old also managed to play for just under an hour against Wasps in the English Premiership on Saturday, March 4.
Despite the 3-24 defeat suffered by his team Bath, Charteris was optimistic about his own fitness. He said, “It was a fast paced game… The hand felt good, which was the main thing.”
He also talked about his hamstring injury which prolonged his layoff a bit saying, “I might have been back sooner but I managed to pull my hamstring in training.
"I am fully over that now with two games under my belt. Hopefully it will be good to finish the season, stay injury free and play some rugby."
Charteris also expressed hope for his fellow Welsh forward Taulupe Faletau, who played 80 minutes for Bath and is battling for a starting spot in the back row after recovering from a knee problem. Charteris added, "It is good to see him back.
"He is a quality player and you can see when he gets his hands on the ball he is such a threat."
Both Charteris and Faletau getting fit and ready to start on Friday must sound like music to Welsh fans. In his career so far, Charteris has played 72 matches across more than thirteen years (2004-2017), of which he has won 52% - 37 matches. But in the Six Nations cup, he has appeared in 23 matches, started in 13, and won 14 matches – 63%.
After losing to both England and Scotland over the last one month, Wales will welcome Charteris and Faletau with open arms in the crucial match against Ireland.
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