Tauranga's Rewita Biddle is a proven force on the rugby field, a hat-trick for Te Puna in last year's Baywide Premier final capped off an outstanding season for the young fullback.
Now, he has decided to take his talents overseas, to a place he never dreamed he would end up going to play rugby.
The 22-year-old, who played for Greerton this year, flies to Russia today
where he will play for VVA-Podmoskovye in the Russian Rugby Championship on a two-year professional contract.
"I was approached at the beginning of club season this year, after a pre-season game against Whakarewarewa. The agent was from the Bay but has contacts in Russia and asked if I had anything going on," Biddle said.
Last year, he spent time in the All Blacks Sevens camp and played in a pre-season tournament. He stayed on as injury replacement but was unable to crack the starting team and his fledgling career had hit a speed bump.
He decided the opportunity to go overseas and play professional rugby was too good to miss.
"I spent two or three months making the decision. The [Russian Rugby Championship] is similar to Super Rugby here, that's the competition their national players play in, but the level is probably more like Mitre 10 Cup or club rugby here in New Zealand.
"The game is growing over there, which is why I'm going. They want to get a lot of foreigners there, especially Kiwis, and they're putting a lot of money into it because they've secured the next few years in the Rugby World Cup."
While his initial contract is for two years, that will be reviewed with the possibility of extending to five years.
Biddle said playing rugby in a foreign country would be a challenge, and Russia was not somewhere he ever imagined himself playing, but it was a challenge he was looking forward to.
"My number one focus is to help grow the game over there, that's why I've been recruited. They want me to share my knowledge and experiences with the players there.
"I want to grow myself as well, develop on the field and take myself to the next level of rugby. I think this role will help, if you're able to teach players then you're getting good qualities out of that, like leadership and applying yourself in a professional manner."
While his All Blacks Sevens dream has stalled, for now, Biddle still has ambitions of representing his own country sometime in the future but for now, he is focused on Russia.
"The goal, if I stay for five years, is to play for Russia in the World Cup after I get my residency. The All Blacks Sevens selection was getting pretty tight with the Olympics next year and there's so much competition and talent in that team.
"I was pretty unfortunate not to get signed with them but it was definitely a massive learning experience for me, to be in that environment, see the level they train at and the level I need to be. I'll go away for a few years and we'll see what happens when I get back.
"When this opportunity came up, I didn't want to turn it down and regret it in the future. I could get injured and that would be it, you never know when your career might end so there's no time for second-guessing, you have to take every opportunity you can."
Te Puna Rugby Club stalwart Tommy Wilson said Biddle had set a great example for young people coming through the club, saying that Baywide final effort "meant more to kids than probably watching an All Black score in the corner at Eden Park".
"What it means for Te Puna is it gives the kids a pathway to follow," Wilson said.
"Rugby is a reality of a job and a chance to do something great with your life that it possibly wasn't 10 years ago. For this boy to lead that pathway is going to inspire other kids and we need that inspiration more than ever - that's why we call our club the fifth marae.
"The club brings kids from all sectors of the Te Puna community together and, to have this boy as a role model to follow, is huge. We mustn't undervalue the impact these role models can have on tomorrow's Steamers, Chiefs and All Blacks."