Michael Owen is ready to come back from eight months of injury to try and force his way back into the Wales team.
Former Dragons skipper Owen has not played for Guinness Premiership club Saracens since damaging cruciate ligaments against Gloucester on New Year’s Day.
The back rower will return to the field in the club’s pre-season tour to South Africa this week.
The 41-cap star reckons he can knock on Warren Gatland’s door and reinvent himself on the Test stage after his switch to Vicarage Road.
Owen, 28, said: “I came to Saracens with high hopes of winning trophies and trying to force my way back into the international scene.
“I felt I was on my way to doing so but I still haven’t achieved either of those goals.
“I’ve had a lot of surgery in the last six months but thankfully it’s been successful. My target is to be available for the first game of the season.”
Owen captained Wales in their 2005 Grand Slam decider against Ireland after taking over the armband from broken thumb victim Gareth Thomas.
But he hasn’t played for his country since the shock World Cup group stage exit to Fiji with Gatland opting for British Lion Andy Powell in the back-row.
Owen, with a year left on his contract, insists he’s determined to banish his injury hell when Saracens kick-off the new campaign on September 5 in a high-profile clash with London Irish at Twickenham.
He said: “For the initial three to four weeks after the injury, I had to take things easy but then the rehab starts.
“I worked really hard to get the muscles in my leg working again and I was glad to finally starting running in the last month.
“Before that, I’d been in the gym doing upper body weights so it feels like I’ve done a six-month pre-season. But I’ve been careful not to rush myself because there are timescales – this isn’t an injury you can beat.”