- Williams winning RBS 6 Nations fitness battle for England clash
- Martin Johnson's side open tournament in Cardiff on February 4
Photo: Getty Images
England look likely to face the Welsh wizardry of Shane Williams in the RBS 6 Nations with the wing's recovery from injury ahead of schedule.
The British & Irish Lion could return from his spell on the sidelines for the RBS 6 Nations curtain raiser against Martin Johnson's men in Cardiff on February 4.
Williams, 33, has been sidelined since dislocating his shoulder during last month's home defeat to world champions South Africa.
And Wales were in danger of being without their record international try-scorer for both the England clash and their encounter with Scotland at Murrayfield eight days later.
After undergoing surgery Ospreys wing Williams, who has scored 51 tries in 75 Tests, was initially ruled out for between 10-12 weeks.
But Ospreys have said their star wing's recovery has been progressing well and the 33-year-old could be back before the end of January.
Two or three recovery seesions per day
Physiotherapist Chris Towers said that Ospreys were eyeing their final Heineken Cup pool game against Toulon on January 22 as possible comeback for Williams.
"Shane is five weeks post-op and is coming along well," said Towers. "He is working hard and doing two or three sessions per day, so we are rehabbing him as hard as we can.
"He's making good progress and we aren't ruling out a possible return for the Toulon game, which is in line with our original best case scenario, although he still has some way to go yet."
News of a return for the former world player of the year will come as a massive boost for both club and country.
Ospreys are currently engaged in a three-way battle with Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon and Munster to secure top spot and an automatic quarter-final place in Pool Three of the Heineken Cup.
And Wales coach Warren Gatland will be over the moon to have a fully fit Williams at his disposal – especially after losing teenage Scarlets wing George North from his early RBS 6 Nations plans with a shoulder injury.