If you had told Karl Tu'inukuafe 12 months ago he would soon have a Super Rugby contract, he wouldn't have believed you.
So imagine how the 25-year-old is feeling now, having been called into the All Blacks.
Tu'inukuafe told reporters today he was still in disbelief at being called into the squad for next month's series against France.
"I got a missed call and then a text and it was from the All Blacks manager.
"I called him back and he said ‘congratulations’ – it was unreal."
The front-rower says he’s been blessed for the incredible tale which started back at Wesley College in 2010 when he was frontrowing with Chiefs teammate Nepo Laulala.
Tu'inukuafe made Counties Manukau age-grade teams but took a few years off the game, with a doctor's visit proving to change his life.
“I was living in Mangere when I got married and I chucked on the weight because I wasn’t playing.
"About 2013-14, I was sitting around – I had a desk job with security – so I just put on the weight and then I talked to the doctors about feeling a bit weird and he gave it to me straight; 'You've got to lose weight'."
Tu'inukuafe opted to join his cousins at Takapuna Rugby Club to help solve his health issues.
"They were just saying I should come along so I decided to join them. I thought it would be fun playing with the family.
"I thought rugby would be an easier way to lose weight than to do it on my own."
That saw Tu'inukuafe called into North Harbour's wider training squad in 2015 before he opted to play a season in France with Narbonne in 2016.
A broken leg ended his time in France but saw his name get on the map with coach Colin Cooper calling him this year as an injury replacement early in the season.
But his scrummaging skills have since caught the eye of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and he's now set to attend his first All Blacks camp in Christchurch this weekend as a replacement for Tim Perry.
"I'm definitely nervous.
"I'm sure they'll all introduce themselves but I probably know all their names!"