It's already been six months since my last operation
World Cup winner Juan Smith joined up with French team Toulon a few days early.
The 32-year-old back row forward had been due to arrive on the French south coast on September 15, but that date was brought forward at Toulon's request.
Smith, who has not played since February 2011 due to an Achilles heel injury that required five operations, joins as a medical joker for the injured Stephane Munoz.
"I haven't worn a rugby shirt for nearly three years so it's a huge privilege to wear Toulon's shirt," said the 2007 World Cup winner.
"I don't think there's a better team than Toulon with which to start playing again."
Although many believed he would never play again, Smith has passed all the necessary medicals and is raring to go.
"It's already been six months since my last operation, there's no risk of breaking down again, I'm ready to play this weekend or next weekend," said the 69-times capped Springbok.