Ann and Neil Weber had booked their flights and accommodation to the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year so it became a double whammy for them when son Brad was named in the 31-member All Blacks squad today. "We've got a big bonus that he's [in the squad]," Neil Weber said of Brad who was named alongside fellow Hawke's Bay Magpie Brodie Retallick and former Lindisfarne College pupil George Bridge.
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"[He] had a big Super [Rugby] season to put is best foot forward and, yeah, dreams come true," Neil said. "He's a Hawke's Bay All Black so that's pretty cool."
Finding out the 28-year-old Chiefs halfback was in coach Steve Hansen's mix was "quite hard case, really".
The parents, who live in Mt Maunganui, don't have live streaming so a workmate had streamed it and videotaped it for him. Neil couldn't hear it but did see the names going up, said the father who works in a port-based industry and is travelling with his Aussie boss in Napier.
"I was a bit nervous this morning so the drive down killed about three hours so we got here in perfect timing, about quarter to 12," he said, revealing the family had moved from here to Bay of Plenty in 2014.
"He's worked very hard and has had a really good journey, if you like," the father said.
It was equally riveting for Brad who had patiently sat in the lounge of his Hamilton home to wait for his name to be called out live on TV at midday, after returning home from the Jockey underwear modelling stint in Auckland on Tuesday night.
"It was just like last time when it got read out so I'm one of the last ones to find out," said Brad who went for a celebratory lunch with Chiefs teammates Luke Jacobson, Anton Lienert-Brown, Damien McKenzie and Ant Niterl, from TAB, who is a good mate.
"I was just bloody over the moon, really," said the bloke who had made his ABs test debut against Samoa in Apia in 2015. "It has been my goal for a long time so to have it confirmed has been great."
Brad had played 13 minutes for the All Blacks in the Four Nations 20-16 test win over Argentina in Buenos Aries on July 21.
"It's always been a goal to try to get back here and it's taken a while but it's incredibly satisfying to be back," he said, having grappled with his share of injury demons.
The trick, he said, was to control what he could on the field and not let selection issues overwhelm him.
Neil said the Bay was an ideal nursery for the then budding Brad who had started playing rugby at Napier Old Boys' Marist as a junior through St Patrick's School before attending Napier Boys' High School which "was just fantastic".
"The coaches there were just great and then the big break came in 2011 when he was at Otago Uni where he made the New Zealand Under-20s after going to a camp as No 5 and ended up being No 2, behind TJ Perenara so that's where it all started," he said of the Baby Blacks world champion.
Brad didn't shy from competition and, no doubt, it had something to do with following in the footprints his father and grandfather, the late Graham Weber, had created in the proud tradition of Hawke's Bay Magpies players.
"He was always very sporty so you name a sport and he'd have a crack at it," said Neil who also had served as Magpies team manager. "We were a sort of a family where whatever he wanted to do we tried to make it happen for him."
Brad also had done a lot of sprint training over the years that was now paying dividends in sniffing out the try line.
His 1.75m, 75kg frame meant people had often told him he was not big enough to go far in the professional rugby arena.
"He was always told he was too small and he'd struggle, and all that, so you could say he's a pretty determined character."
Neil said another turning point was when Brad broke his leg in 2017 at the Brisbane Tens but showed immense resolve to work his way back to full fitness.
Asked if Brad had looked slick on the catwalk, a chuckling Neil replied: "Oh we were a bit surprised but good on him. Nothing fazes him. He'll give everything a go, put it that way."
A jovial Brad didn't fancy his chances in the fashion fields either.
"I don't think so. I'm not tall, dark and handsome so ... "
However, the All Black said people discounting his stature had become a catalyst in his career as he embarked on a journey to prove them wrong.
"For a while the game was going where you wanted it to as halfbacks but I'm glad it's gone the other way where it's such a quick game now that small, fast halfbacks are what you require now so that's worked out well."
Brad said the World Cup had raised the stakes from team goals to country ones so he was willing to fulfil his portfolio in helping achieve them.
Grandfather Graham, who died five years ago, had played for the Magpies in the late 1950s, making Brad a third generation Weber to don the black-and-white provincial jersey.
"My dad was picked as one of five the promising players in New Zealand in 1957, I think," said Neil who himself had represented the NZ Divisional team as a halfback.
He said former and incumbent Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union administrators, such as Mike Bishop and Jay Campbell, had played a pivotal role, too, in Brad's success.