Former Collegiate and Steelform Wanganui first-five Stephen Perofeta had a June he will never forget after flying to the other side of the world to win World Rugby Under 20 Championship in the early hours of yesterday, NZ time.
Fresh off making his Super Rugby debut for the Blues and then starting first-five in the Eden Park victory over the British & Irish Lions, Perofeta was rushed to Georgia on Friday to join the Baby Blacks for their final against England.
He linked up with the squad after regular first-five Tiaan Falcon was injured in New Zealand's semifinal win over France.
"Unfortunately, we have had to rule Tiaan out of the final due to concussion which was really disappointing for both him and our whole squad," said coach Craig Philpott on Sunday.
"Luckily we have an awesome replacement in Stephen who played for the Under 20s last year and brings a wealth of experience."
With Perofeta at No10, New Zealand went on to regain the Under 20 world championship by crushing England 64-17, scoring 10 tries to three.
New Zealand scored at a point-a-minute in the first half, playing high speed and backing each other up.
Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua grabbed a hat-trick, including one solo effort where he powered his way through six tacklers.
Perofeta took the goal kicks for the tries and two penalty attempts, ultimately landing seven conversions, and had a good overall game running the cutter, showing little signs of jet lag.
The victory had to bring personal satisfaction for the young man, who was not originally considered for the team in May due to still coming back from a niggly injury.
He was in the Under 20 team last year that unfortunately dropped a pool game to Ireland in Manchester, and did not finish as the highest runnerup from the three pools to therefore miss the semifinals - going on to win their two consolation games and finish fifth.
Monday morning's victory is New Zealand's sixth title in the 10 years of the tournament and was a record score for the final, surpassing the Baby Blacks' 62-17 win over Australia in 2010.