Former All Black Zac Guildford still hopes to play professional rugby again - but for now he's loving his new job as a teacher aide at a primary school in Hamilton.
Guildford mainly looks after two children who have some learning disabilities, shadowing them in the classroom and giving them crucial one-on-one assistance.
"It's a pretty rewarding job. I get to deal with kids and kids that maybe haven't had the best start to life," he told the Herald on Sunday.
"They just need a bit of support and that's my role. It's actually a pretty cool job."
Guildford helps the children, aged 9 and 10, with reading, writing and maths but joked: "It's been a while since I was at school so I'm learning a little bit as well."
"They're at a cool age. I've always had a good connection with kids - I don't know if it's because I still act like one myself."
Guildford began at Endeavour School at the beginning of this year after principal Marcus Freke offered him the position.
"I got offered the job because the principal of the school is involved with my rugby club, Hamilton Old Boys.
"I enjoy working with kids so it gives me a bit of reward and works me around training."
He said the job was helping him "dip his toes in", gain work experience, and figure out life after rugby.
The 29-year-old is playing club rugby and hasn't decided whether to play for Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup as he did last year or look for a contract overseas.
"I haven't made any more decisions on whether I'll stay around Waikato and play or head overseas. I'm still undecided. At the moment it's just club rugby and see what happens."
Despite being overlooked this year for a Super Rugby contract, Guildford said he still hoped to play top level rugby again.
"I've still got dreams and aspirations to play full-time, professionally. It's just about getting that opportunity I guess.
"Obviously in the past I made a lot of mistakes and burned a few bridges and obviously that's hindering me at the moment."
Guildford, a wing who has 11 caps with the All Blacks and played for the team during its victorious 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign, was cited for an incident in Rarotonga involving alcohol in November that year.
"But I think I'm in a good space now so when that opportunity comes up or if it does I'll take it," he said.
Guildford said he is surrounded by "cool people", including a "really nice family" he lives with in Hamilton.
"They provide good support for me and back when I was full-time professional I tried to do a lot of things on my own and I didn't talk a lot, and that made things hard.
"I guess coming in and doing this work and getting away from full-time, professional rugby sort of humbled me a little bit and made me realise what was important in life."
Guildford rose to rugby's elite as a teenager and was first selected for the All Blacks at age 20 in 2009, just months after his father died suddenly while watching Guildford in an Under-20s final in Japan.
Meanwhile Guildford, who said he has considered becoming a youth worker or studying teaching, was a source of excitement once the children at Endeavour School worked out who he was.
"The first week I got quite a few questions. They said they were YouTube-ing me and they'd seen some of my tries. They were generally quite interested and said, 'You used to play for the All Blacks'."
But once the novelty wore off Guildford was roped into coaching one of the school's touch rugby teams and playing for the teacher's touch rugby team.
He added kids can be brutally honest.
"I've been told quite a lot that my hair's really grey which I didn't think it was but it's made me look in the mirror a couple of times. They keep you on your toes."
Freke said Guildford was a natural with the children.
"He's got a really intuitive, positive manner with the kids, and in fact with everyone at the school."