All Blacks prop Karl Tu'inukuafe says he might not be required for this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, having been axed from Steve Hansen's wider squad last month.
One of five players to be dropped from the All Blacks' plans after the 16-all draw with South Africa in Wellington, 26-year old Tu'inukuafe returned to North Harbour in the hope of proving his worth at provincial level.
Instead though, the ball playing front rower limped from the field in North Harbour's Mitre 10 Cup defeat to Counties Manukau with a leg injury.
Now back in action for Harbour's Mitre 10 Cup clash with Southland tomorrow, Tu'inukuafe knows that he needs to impress if he's to be included in Steve Hansen's 31-man World Cup squad, named on Wednesday.
However, the 13-Test prop also knows that the decision may be out of his hands.
"I'm just trying to give my best for North Harbour, whatever it is, hopefully it gets us the result," Tu'inukuafe told 1 NEWS.
"Whatever the plan is with the coaches.
"Every player brings a different type of thing to the table. Whatever I can bring, if they need it and if they need me, [then] I'm ready whenever."
Having been told that the All Blacks' front rowers need to possess a running game as well as be able to fire in the scrum, Tu'inukuafe stole the show in his North Harbour comeback, proving a force to be reckoned with in possession.
After his incredible rise from a desk job to the All Blacks, Tu'inukuafe knows the highs and lows that professional rugby brings, staying philosophical over his future at Test level.
"I always knew when I came in [to the All Blacks], there was always guys that opened the opportunity for me.
"Being injured, they opened that door [and] I took my opportunity.
"When they came back into form, it was easy to know what they were looking for, the selectors.
"They knew what they were looking for before they got injured, and then to go back to them was probably the easy decision."
Tu'inukuafe will be competing for one of a probable five front row spots in Steve Hansen's Rugby World Cup squad, up against the likes of Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Tim Perry for a ticket to Japan.