Wales hooker Matthew Rees eyes Scarlets return

Matthew Rees
Rees has won 47 Wales caps since his debut against the United States in 2005

Wales World Cup injury absentee Matthew Rees has targeted the Scarlets' 29 October Pro12 clash against Ulster for his return.

Hooker Rees, 30, was due to lead Wales at the tournament in New Zealand.

But a persistent neck injury required surgery, ruling him out of the trip down under.

"Matthew's training with us," said Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies. "It's great to have him back."

In the British and Irish Lions hooker's absence, flanker Sam Warburton - Wales' second-youngest captain - has led Wales to the World Cup semi-finals.

Another hooker, Ospreys' Richard Hibbard, also saw his tournament hopes dashed by a shoulder injury suffered in Wales' final warm-up win over Argentina on 20 August.

Hibbard returned in his region's 32-14 win over Ulster on 25 September, a win that helped put them at the top of the Pro12 League.

Wales also lost Scarlets back Morgan Stoddart (broken leg) and Gavin Henson (wrist) ahead of coach Warren Gatland's squad announcement on 22 August.

With unattached Henson yet to declare where his playing future lies, Rees seems likely to be the first of the long-term injured trio to return to action.