Lucas Payne certainly has talent.
The 17-year-old Dargaville High School student has again been selected in the New Zealand Barbarian U18 rugby squad that will compete nationally this year.
He is the only Northlander in the team to be coached by Allan Bunting, fresh from leading the Black Fern 7s to gold in Tokyo.
The side will play the New Zealand Schools team and the New Zealand U18 Māori Ngā Whatukura boys' team.
Born and raised in Dargaville, Payne first played rugby as a 5-year-old and liked it so much he decided to not only continue playing but to earn his living off it once he leaves school.
The talented winger has his sights firmly set on cracking into the Northland Taniwha and the Blues and eventually pulling that famous black jersey that every rugby age-grade player dreams of.
What makes his rugby journey fascinating is the fact the oval ball sport is not really in the family blood.
"Dad used to play club rugby, that's about it."
Payne played as a midfielder until last year before making the switch to wing.
"I find it easier to use my speed on the wing. The switch was difficult at first as I was used to working around in the back three but after a while, it came to me naturally."
He was selected for one of the two NZ Baa-Baas U18 last year for the first time and they played against each other due to Covid restrictions.
Payne is excited at the challenges that lay ahead and wants to get better playing at a higher level.
"My hard work is starting to pay off. It would be nice if a couple more Northland boys make it into the team. It's definitely not easy the higher you go and I've got to work hard and put the time in and hopefully the rewards will come," he said.
Seventy-five top schoolboy players from up and down the country that make up the three teams have been rewarded for their performances in schools and club rugby this season.
From Dargaville High School to Southland Boys' High School, 30 schools and nine clubs are represented with players selected from across 15 provincial unions.
"We've seen another season of rugby disrupted by Covid 19, which includes the original schedule for these teams. For many of these players this will be the end of their school rugby, so it is great we have been able to select these squads and form a programme for them," New Zealand Rugby high performance pathways' manager Ben Fisher said