Hard work is starting to pay off for Taniwha ITM Cup hooker Matt Moulds as he prepares for the possibility of debuting for the All Blacks Sevens side - which could come as early as this weekend.
Moulds has been in camp with the national side as they prepare for the Wellington Sevens this weekend, something he says has been quite an experience.
"It's definitely the hard trainings," Moulds said of the renowned Sir Gordon Tietjens' lead sessions. "There are a lot of can and can't dos and things you've got to learn pretty quickly."
It has been a whirlwind few days for the Northlander - who was named in the squad on Friday after being involved with the wider training squad previously - but he has been welcomed into the fold like a brother.
"All the boys have been really good, we're like brothers already. The standards here are from the top, as soon as you get here you're already in line - nobody steps out of line. It's good just being here, I'm learning."
The experience of being in a national side has helped lift Moulds' expectations.
"In the past I haven't taken [sevens] as serious as I should. This year, moving up to Northland, and rugby being a big part of me now, I sort of have been striving to achieve. So, any campaign going into I've tried to do the best I can.
"I came into [Northland] sevens pretty fresh, and was doing it more to keep fit throughout the summer so I come back to 15s really strong."
While Moulds is yet to crack the team, he said Tietjens is looking at him as a similar type role to captain DJ Forbes.
Northland sevens coach Peter Nock said for a while now he has been in regular contact with Tietjens, with the latter extracting as much information from Nock before promoting Moulds.
"Tietjens was talking to me in the weeks leading up [to nationals last month] and Moulds had been one of our rocks - he trains the house down, he's just got everything," Nock said.
"When Tietjens was in Las Vegas [two weekends ago] he would have called five or six times ... he was talking about comparison between Matt [Moulds] and [Warren] Dunn and Jone [Macalai] and was asking what the players would do in different scenarios.
"Mouldsy would never let me down, he plays with his heart on his sleeve. As soon as the ITM Cup finished he called me up and said was interested in sevens but had a crook back and wanted to get it right first.
"He came a week later than he wanted and, sure enough, when he came back he was dying to get stuck into it. We worked on his fitness but, man, it didn't take him long, he's just a good trainer."
Nock added that if Moulds was to make the side, which was to be named this evening, he would be proud but gutted at the same time after turning down a number of tickets to the Wellington round.
"I've turned down so many opportunities to go down with mates, but now that Mouldsy is in it [it has extra appeal]. We've got a good relationship and he's a good bugger."