Hadleigh Parkes is an unlikely rugby hero. A hero he is, though, through Welsh eyes.
These days Parkes is a Six Nations grand slam champion; a rock in Warren Gatland's midfield.
In recent weeks he has been welcomed to the National Assembly, and toasted beers with Prince William in the Principality Stadium changing rooms.
At supermarkets and on streets, Parkes is a local celebrity.
It wasn't always this way, though. Far from it.
In New Zealand rugby circles Parkes was often deemed surplus.
Maybe this is a case of Parkes suiting northern hemisphere rugby more. Whatever the explanation, he has certainly found a happy home.
Five years on from his departure and he is, remarkably, much the same bloke who left New Zealand with no fanfare.
Recent fame has done nothing to inflate the perception of his own ability, either.
"I'm not sure if you can write this," Parkes says. "But I'm still a white battler to be honest.
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"In New Zealand you put a lot of pressure on yourself and over here I thought 'bugger it I'm just going to enjoy it'. And I have.
"I don't think I've changed that much as a player other than working hard and having a couple of really good coaches who have helped out."
Throughout his New Zealand career Parkes scrapped for everything – struggling even to make the Super Rugby grade at times.
He first emerged alongside Aaron Cruden and Andre Taylor in the Palmerston North Boys' High first XV, progressing through the Hurricanes and New Zealand schools ranks.
After those accolades, Parkes became something of a journeyman.
He bounced from Manawatu to captain Auckland at one stage. He shuffled between the Blues and Hurricanes – a team he supported from the moment Bull Allen led them out for the first Super Ruby match in Palmerston North.
But such was his New Zealand rugby status, Parkes took a punt on the Port Elizabeth-based Southern Kings during their inaugural Super Rugby season under Matt Sexton and Crusaders assistant Brad Mooar.
At a time when Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams set the bar, Parkes didn't fit the desired second five-eighth mould, to the point he also played wing and fullback.
"I was fighting for my position most years and I knew how lucky I was to do something I loved. I didn't actually mind the moving around. They were all awesome experiences and I got to meet a new group of lads every 12 months and a lot of them have become good friends so I tried to embrace it."
Parkes and wife Suzanne, a chartered accountant, left New Zealand with the intent to savour their overseas experience. Nothing more, nothing less.
Linking with former Auckland, and next Wales coach, Wayne Pivac at Scarlets, Parkes only considered representing Wales at the end of his initial two-and-a-half-year deal.
"It didn't really hit home until contract negotiations and there were a couple of whispers. They said 'if you do hang around there could be a good opportunity for you'. I'm stoked I did because it's been an amazing two years."
That's downplaying it, somewhat.
After fulfilling test rugby's controversial three-year eligibility criteria, Parkes scored two tries in his Welsh debut against the Springboks in December, 2017.
He has since become indispensable – dubbed the Welsh Conrad Smith, even – after surpassing Jamie Roberts and Owen Williams, midfielders from his first test squad, and playing a leading role in helping Wales to their record 14 match unbeaten run.
In their last outing, Wales crushed Ireland, last year's best test team, to capture the grand slam and leave Cardiff delirious.
That day Parkes was at it again, scoring Wales' only try after a chip kick from fellow Kiwi Gareth Anscombe. But it was his desperate full-length diving tackle on Irish speedster Jacob Stockdale that epitomised why he has become Gatland's go to man.
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"The boys all give me a bit of stick because they ask where that pace came from. Gareth Davies owes me a couple of beers for missing the tackle before it.
"If he had been another metre away I probably wouldn't have got there. I enjoyed the tackle a lot more than the try."
Celebrations kicked off in fitting fashion – a team court session in the Under Armour corporate box on halfway, before venturing into the heaving Cardiff town and then back to the Vale Resort base to share the occasion with family and friends.
On the Sunday, 30 odd players finished things off at another venue.
"It was a good couple of days – a lot of fun.
"Did I think I would ever play in a grand slam-winning team? No. Prince William coming into the sheds after that game, he was an extremely nice, humble man. He knew all the boys names and just wanted to chew the fat.
"They're the moments you really enjoy. From the players to the management, everyone was in such a great mood.
"After the first few games people weren't expecting us to take it out. England and Ireland were still the favourites.
"To put Ireland away in that last test, and do it quite convincingly, was extremely pleasing."
Naturally, with Gatland's men ranked second and the World Cup four months away, belief has never hit such heights.
Senior players and management claim this is the best squad environment they have experienced – their challenge now to replicate this form away from the legion of intensely passionate fans and the caldron atmosphere they generate.
"There's a huge amount of confidence and everyone gets on well. There's no dickheads in the team. There's not one person I wouldn't want to have a beer or coffee with. In a team where there's close to 50 people, you don't get that too often.
"There's no reason why we can't have confidence in our own ability. You never know what can happen in knockout rugby. It's going to be a tough eight weeks over in Japan."
Parkes turns 32 during the World Cup and can apply for citizenship at the end of this year but perhaps the best sign he is now ensconced in Welsh rugby is his "son of" nickname.
"Wayne Pivac is my old man, Warren Gatland is my other dad and Brad Mooar is my brother that's taking over Scarlets… they're not too great on the banter."
Whatever transpires from here Parkes' career has come full circle.
From bit-part player to central figure, New Zealand's exports are again Wales' gain.
"It is quite ironic. Obviously a lot of people have their opinion on the matter but I'm enjoying every moment. It's a cool place to be.
"I wouldn't change anything about the way I was in New Zealand, and I wouldn't change what has happened. It's been an amazing journey.
"Sometimes now you have to sit down and pinch yourself because of the opportunities I've had here in Wales. Neither my wife nor I pictured this when we were leaving New Zealand. It's extremely humbling and a massive privilege."