Israel Dagg is the perfect example of why no one is guaranteed a spot in the All Blacks.
Eleven long months after his last appearance, the Crusaders fullback has finally been recalled to play his 50th Test against Wales and knows just how lucky he is.
A star of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Dagg has battled injury and form while rival Ben Smith, now the All Blacks' vice-captain, has made a remarkable comeback after a failed start to his Test career in 2009.
Then, after much debate about his ability to bounce back, the 28-year-old was left out of last year's squad for the World Cup in England.
Dagg feared he may never play for the All Blacks again.
"Last year I kind of thought 'oh well, time's up,'" Dagg said.
"But then I had to sit down and take a deep breath and reassess things and had a lot of time away from the game.
"I just wanted to get out there and play footy .. it's awesome to be back in this environment and be given another opportunity."