A little-known Southland prop will make history if he takes the field in his team's ITM Cup season opener against Bay of Plenty in Invercargill on Friday night.
Morgan Mitchell, 21, will become the first player who is profoundly deaf to feature in a top-tier rugby competition but he is not letting the disability keep him down.
"That's my motivation is just get out there, anything's possible", Mitchell told ONE News. "Nothing can let you down you've just got to believe in yourself."
Without his hearing aid, the cauldron of a rugby contest and the shrill of the referee's whistle is little more than a murmur, but Mitchell's ability to lip-read gets him through set-piece situations.
"That's the kind of guy he is, you wouldn't even know he's got a problem," Southland captain Jamie Mackintosh said.
"You could ask half the guys in the team they wouldn't even know it."