An Auckland schoolboy who dreams of becoming a Highlander and an All Black has won a trip to the Rugby World Cup in Japan — and his reaction was as chilled out as the cool as a cucumber reputation of the champion former All Black who gave him the good news.
Toby Fletcher and his dad, David Fletcher, will travel to Japan for the All Blacks' first match against South Africa, after the 11-year-old was named the first winner of Mastercard's Launch a Local Legend campaign.
Former All Blacks captain and two-time Rugby World Cup winner Richie McCaw announced the prize to an unsuspecting Toby in front of hundreds of his fellow North Harbour Marist Rugby Club members in Albany this afternoon.
A stunned Toby kept his head in front of his peers and one of world rugby's biggest legends, declaring the win: "Pretty cool".
Away from the spotlight, the Marist J2 Vipers prop was more reflective on his good fortune.
"[When I heard] I was like 'this is a dream'. I've never been to Japan. I think it's going to be fun."
Toby, a Murrays Bay Intermediate pupil, will travel to Japan with his dad after David Fletcher decided it should be mum Zara's decision which parent would accompany their son on the dream trip.
"That's smart," McCaw, who married wife Gemma in 2017, joked when David Fletcher told the legendary All Black of his decision to leave the final call to his wife.
She was excited for her son's trip of a lifetime, Zara Fletcher said.
"He loves rugby. He lives and breathes it and it's his dream to one day become a Highlander. David's from Dunedin so we're a Highlanders supporting family."
Toby's coach Andrew Smith said the club was delighted to be able to choose Toby for the prize.
"He's one of our most enthusiastic players and gives 100 per cent on the pitch during every game, and is always willing to help his Marist family out no matter what is required."
As for McCaw he described being able to hand out such a great prize to a young player as a "pretty special thing", and said he would catch up with Toby and his dad "for brekky or something like that" while all three were in Japan.
And he encouraged Toby to keep up his dedication to the sport.
"Having that passion goes a long way [to success]."
The Local Legend competition began in June and gave two Mastercard cardholders who tap their cards a chance to win a trip to the Cup.
Justin O'Sullivan tapped his Mastercard at New World Long Bay a few weeks ago and nominated North Harbour Marist to pick a local legend to send to the tournament.
The campaign was about celebrating the grassroots rugby clubs, parents and volunteers developing New Zealand's next generation of rugby talent, Mastercard New Zealand country manager Ruth Riviere said.
"The excitement on Toby's face when he found out he was going to Japan was simply unforgettable. It's an absolute privilege to offer this opportunity of a lifetime to a young New Zealander."