Having notched one cap for the All Blacks, former prop Ben Afeaki will finally get to travel to a World Cup - however not in the role he might have expected.
His playing career cut cruelly short after a head clash with Brodie Retallick left him battling concussion like symptoms. Afeaki has stayed in rugby as a coach, first with the Blues in Super Rugby, now turning his hand to Manu Samoa ahead of this year's World Cup in Japan.
With Manu Samoa currently in an Auckland-based training camp, Afeaki spoke to 1 NEWS about his new challenge as an international forwards coach.
"It's pretty exciting once you see the size of some of these boys," Afeaki said.
"These boys really like just getting on the field and playing rugby - it's exciting."
"We've got Tonga first game [of the Pacific Nations Cup], so we'll be building into that, I'm sure the boys will get up for it.
"We've got a lot to do between now and then, a lot of learning and a lot of homework for them.
"I think all the boys are pretty excited and probably a little bit nervous as well. Everyone's getting to know each other.
"Everyone's connecting well, and the Samoan team's always had a pretty good culture."
At just 31-years of age, Afeaki could well have been involved as a player at the upcoming World Cup, having made his All Blacks debut back in 2013 against France.
Rather than be upset at what could have been though, Afeaki is happy to just be involved in a World Cup set up.
"With regards to the World Cup, it's pretty exciting being part of a team going to the World Cup."
"Who knows, it's all in the past. Could've, would've. But it's just exciting to be involved in a team that is going to the World Cup. A team that, if they get everything right, potentially everyone's got a chance to win it.
"I fully believe these boys have a chance, and it's exciting to get through all the systems and the challenge ahead of us."
Manu Samoa next head home for the start of the Pacific Nations Cup beginning at the end of August, before heading to Japan where they'll face the likes of Ireland, Scotland and their hosts in pool play.