If timing really is everything, then Hugh McMeniman's return to Australia is perfect.

With the Wallabies crying out for a big, aggressive and mobile forward, McMeniman looms as a key weapon in the series against the British and Irish Lions.

The 29-year-old has a prime opportunity to underline his Test credentials on Saturday night when he returns to Brisbane, adding starch to the Western Force's pack against his old side, the Queensland Reds.

McMeniman was a star in the making a few years ago during his 21 Tests for the Wallabies and 29 Super Rugby caps for the Reds.

But a raft of serious shoulder and knee injuries curtailed his progress, forcing McMeniman to ply his trade in the more body-friendly environment of Japanese rugby.

In the three years he spent overseas, McMeniman believes he has finally unlocked the secret to staying injury-free.

Now he wants his Wallaby jersey back.

That's good news for coach Robbie Deans, who is desperate to find a replacement for retired lock Nathan Sharpe and add depth to the team's back row.

Standing at 200cm and weighing 114kg, McMeniman is a formidable force at lock or blindside flanker, giving the Wallabies vital flexibility.

But it's his mongrel that remains his greatest attribute.

McMeniman said his lengthy injury stints over the years had actually left him fresher than other players his age.

"I definitely don't feel like I'm 29, and a lot of people tell me I don't act like I'm 29," he said.

McMeniman has fond memories of his three-year stint with Japanese side Kubota.

But he said the lure of playing against the Lions was too hard to resist, convincing him to pen a one-year deal with the Force.

"Nathan Sharpe played his whole career and didn't get the chance to play the Lions, and he's been around forever and played everyone and done everything," McMeniman said.

"It just shows you that if you get selected to play against the Lions, it's a very special opportunity."

But with the Force (0-3) languishing near the foot of the table, McMeniman's immediate focus is on helping his new team break their duck against the Reds (3-1).

McMeniman still has many friends at the Reds, but they possess something he desperately wants.

"Basically the whole team was there from when I was there. The only difference is I didn't get a premiership," he said.

"I'm looking forward to this game immensely."

McMeniman said he had enjoyed his time in Perth so far, and was leaning towards extending his time at the Force beyond this year.