Sione Lauaki has been named on the Waikato reserves bench for their New Zealand Cup match against Otago in Dunedin on Saturday.
A torn pectoral muscle, sustained in a Vodacom Super 14 game between the Chiefs and the Vodacom Blue Bulls has kept the 25-year-old loose forward sidelined since April.
Now, following months of rehabilitation, the 118kg monster has been given the go ahead to play by Waikato’s medical and fitness staff.
His inclusion on the bench is one of three changes coach Warren Gatland has made to the team that shocked Canterbury last Friday.
Prop, Sam Biddles will earns a run-on start and Tom Willis will play at hooker.
Waikato are placed third in their pool after three rounds of the competition.
The Waikato team (Kick-off, Saturday at 2pm – Carisbrook, Dunedin):
15 Sosene Anesi 14 Roy Kinikinilau 13 Richard Kahui 12 David Hill 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu 10 Stephen Donald 9 Brendon Leonard 8 Liam Messam 7 Marty Holah 6 Steven Bates (captain) 5 Jono Gibbes 4 Toby Lynn 3 Nathan White 2 Tom Willis 1 Sam Biddles Replacements: 22 Roger Randle 21 Dwayne Sweeney 20 David Bason 19 Sione Lauaki 18 Mark Burman 17 Craig West 16 Scott Linklater