Missing out on Super rugby will be worth it for Sherwin Stowers if he wins another gold medal at next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as part of Gordon Tietjens' New Zealand sevens side.
Despite being a member of the Blues in 2011 and 2012, Stowers couldn't find a Super rugby home this year and he said there had been no bites for next season either.
The Counties Manukau fullback has been in electric form for the Ranfurly Shield holders during this season's ITM Cup but the 27-year-old has happily committed to the sevens programme with an eye to Glasgow.
Stowers was part of New Zealand's gold-medal-winning team in Delhi in 2010 when the Kiwis beat Australia 24-17 in a sweltering final.
"I was always happy to go back to sevens and have a bit of a run around and I always loved being part of Titch's environment," he said.
The De La Salle College product will join Tietjens' first camp of the new sevens season in Mt Maunganui on Monday as New Zealand look towards the opening tournament of the world series on the Gold Coast from October 12-13.
If he makes the squad for the opening tournament, Stowers will miss Counties Manukau's away trip to Canterbury in week nine of the ITM Cup and their final Ranfurly Shield defence of the season when they host Southland in Pukekohe on October 11.
All going to plan, Stowers should return in time for the playoffs, with Counties on track to finish in the top four of the Premiership.
Victory over Bay of Plenty in Rotorua tomorrow would be vital to their cause. "This week's a special week for us in trying to cement that top four spot," Stowers said.
When the flying fullback isn't learning Counties coach Tana Umaga's playbook, he is studying to become a primary school teacher, where he wants to teach year 6.
Stowers goes to training in the morning and classes in the afternoon but his practical work experiences are on hold this year as he tries to balance his busy rugby schedule.
Last year Stowers spent time at Papakura Normal School, where the pupils quickly latched on to what he did for a day job.
"It was hard to keep the kids under control because of the footy stuff, they were all starting to YouTube me and Google me, which was a bit hard," Stowers said with a laugh.
"I've got to try and be professional about it. I'm there to be a teacher, I'm not there on a promo."
Stowers said he intended to finish his studies by the end of next year. By then his students might be talking to a two-time, gold-medal winning Commonwealth Games competitor.
And with sevens to debut at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Stowers might be focusing on Brazil before he can concentrate on teaching.