A desire to make the Tauranga Boys' College First XV may lead to Marshall Gibson representing New Zealand at next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in wrestling.
The unusual sporting journey began just over two years ago when Gibson was playing for the school's Third XV. His desire to make the top team was thwarted because he was overweight and unfit.
Up stepped his wrestling coach and mentor Mark Grayling, who has guided Gibson's rapid rise in wrestling.
"When he walked into the gym two and a half years ago he was 122.5kg and 17 years old, overweight and unconfident," Grayling said.
"He started wrestling to try and make the First XV, and six months later he was 108kg, stronger, faster, fitter and he made the First XV. He quit rugby after that and carried on wrestling."
Grayling says his charge may be too young for the Commonwealth Games but he encourages him to set goals.
"If he can repeat the gains he has made from this time last year to now, then anything is possible. He still has 18 months before the Games. He is easily the best junior (under-21) in New Zealand - no one comes near him - and he got third at the nationals in seniors and has improved a lot since then.
"It is a sport that steers more towards technique than just strength. Obviously, the power to weight ratio is a huge thing but if you have good technique, natural ability and class that goes a long way."
Gibson is one of nine talented young athletes to be granted a High Performance Sports Scholarship from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic this year and he has enjoyed plenty of success in 2013, highlighted by his performance at the 2013 Oceania Wrestling Championships in Guam where he won three gold and two silver medals in his division.
"I had to qualify through the New Zealand nationals to make the Oceania team, so it is the next level up. It was pretty much a high point in my career so far.
"But it is quite hard getting wrestling known out there compared to a sport like rugby ... so that makes it a bit challenging.
"I am lucky I got a Bay Trust scholarship, which helped quite a bit to get to Guam, and I did lots of fundraising barbecues and worked hard for the rest."