Richardt Strauss back for Leinster three months after heart surgery
Leinster and Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss is set to return to action this weekend only three months after undergoing heart surgery.
The South Africa-born hooker had been expected to miss the remainder of this season after being diagnosed with a heart problem in October.
However, he has recovered to be named on the bench for Friday's Heineken Cup tie against the Ospreys.
Strauss's return will also be a boost for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.
The 27-year-old has played 79 times for Leinster and earned four Ireland caps.
Strauss's heart condition was discovered following a series of tests last autumn.
He has not featured for Leinster since playing 70 minutes of the Pro12 defeat by Glasgow on 20 September.
Prior to the diagnosis of the heart ailment, Strauss had established himself as Leinster's hooker ahead of fellow international Sean Cronin in addition to becoming a strong back-up to Ireland's regular number two Rory Best.
The Pretoria-born player made 36 appearances for Super 14 club the Cheetahs before signing for Leinster in 2009.
He helped Leinster clinch successive Heineken Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2012 and earned his first Ireland cap against his native South Africa 14 months ago.
Strauss scored his first international try in the win over Argentina two weeks later but he missed out on Ireland's 2013 Six Nations campaign because of injury.
His fourth and most recent cap came against the United States in Houston last June.