Ben Te’o’s remarkable rise through rugby union continued on Thursday when he was named to start for the Lions in the first Test against the All Blacks this weekend.
But the England centre insists he is taking it all in his stride as he prepares for the clash at Eden Park on Saturday night.
This time last year the 30-year-old the rugby league convert – born in Auckland and who cut his teeth in the NRL – had not yet made his international debut.
And now he lines up alongside Jonathan Davies in midfield in the biggest match of his fledgling rugby union career.
And the eight-cap centre, who has played the full 80 minutes in the Lions Tour wins over the NZ Provincial Barbarians, the Crusaders and the Maori All Blacks, is ready for the next challenge.
“It feels great, I have come on a journey through rugby union and I am very humbled and proud to be named in this team alongside so many world-class players,” he said.
“From when selections were made I was not thinking that I would be in, it came as quite a shock.
“And once I got on the plane I realised that every opportunity I got I had to try and seize, every game was a trial match.
“I just tried to play my best rugby, that is what I have been doing and I am happy that I have done enough that the coaches have showed some faith in me to play me.
“But it is only the beginning now, the real test is coming on Saturday and I am fully aware of what is coming.
“I understand the record, their standing in the game at the moment and just where the All Blacks are at in terms of their rugby.
“I understand it is going to be tough and we will have to be at our best compared to them.”