After being blighted by injuries himself, an injury call up has seen promising Northland rugby player Scott Gregory earn a spot on the bench for tomorrow morning's New Zealand Under 20s World Cup game against Japan in France.
Under 20 Head Coach Craig Philpott has named his side to open their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in France, with Gregory on the bench.
The match kicks off at 7am, NZ time, tomorrow morning.
Gregory wasn't originally in line but an injury opened the door for the former Whangārei's Boys' High School student to press his claims.
He said the sadness at originally missing out on the squad was quickly replaced with joy when he was called up.
Gregory's road to the squad hasn't been smooth. His own injury issues (stress fractures in his back) meant he missed the majority of the 2017 season and forced him to dig deep to return to a high level of play.
Injuries and the strong form of players ahead of him meant his debut for Northland is still a date to be decided but once on the field in 2018, Gregory showed the promise that saw him signed to Northland straight out of high school.
Philpott said the team has adjusted well in France and players were looking forward to their first match.
"We were travelling for the best part of 40 hours so arrived here reasonably jaded. We've had three or four days to get our feet on the ground and some really good training runs and we're in pretty good shape to come out and perform against Japan," he said.
In selecting the team for the first match against Japan, Philpott said workload management was at front of mind.