Chiefs and Taranaki centre Seta Tamanivalu is one of six new All Blacks named in Steve Hansen's Test team to take on Wales next month.
The Fijian born star was all smiles today and couldn’t hide his excitement at being named in the New Zealand side.
"I am excited and pretty proud as well. I have come a long way and the hard work has paid off now," Tamanivalu said.
The 23-year-old was named the ITM Cup player of the year in 2014 and was part of the Premiership-winning Taranaki team that took out the final against Tasman 36-32 at Yarrows Stadium, New Plymouth.
"It is the start of a new beginning in my life."
The bruising midfielder thanked his Taranaki coach and development officer for giving him the opportunity to play in his breakout season for the province.
"Credit to Collin Cooper and Michael Collins for bringing me down there (Taranaki).
"Turning up to New Zealand, I didn't really speak English very well. They really helped me a lot."
The desire to play for the All Blacks came after he was selected as a part of the wider training group for New Zealand in their June Test against Samoa last year.
"Last year we had a lot of All Blacks in the team (Chiefs) Sonny (Bill Williams) and Charlie (Ngatai), experienced players.
"This year I was told to step up."
Tamanivalu said his first ambitions was to play for the Fijian Sevens national team but that soon changed after he was approached by the All Blacks at the end of 2014.
Fellow Taranaki and All Blacks player Beauden Barrett was pleased about Tamanivalu's inclusion in the squad and believes he is a valuable asset to the team.
"Very exciting, he is the sort of guy you give the ball to him and he'll either run over or around the players," said Barrett.
"It's great to see his big smile here and obviously he has been playing really well too."
The All Blacks play their first Test match on June 11 at Eden Park, Auckland.
The six rookies named in the squad include Tamanivalu, Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Blues), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Elliot Dixon (Highlanders), Liam Squire (Highlanders) and Damian McKenzie (Chiefs).