This week, The All Blacks Sevens were in Rotorua for a pre-season camp ahead of their first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town in December. They held a training session at Rotorua Boys' High School, fittingly on the very fields where their newest recruit honed his craft.
Kawerau's William Warbrick is a late bloomer.
When he was a student at Rotorua Boys' High School he was unable to make the first XV rugby team. Now, he is the Tauranga-based All Blacks Sevens' newest contracted player.
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Late last year, three years after finishing school, he was one of three men who stood out at the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 talent search in Auckland to claim a place at the 2019 All Blacks Sevens National Development Camp.
Now, after spending the preseason with the All Blacks Sevens squad and impressing the coaches, he has signed a two-year contract.
"It's pretty exciting, I'm pretty happy as well," Warbrick said.
"It's something I've always wanted to be a part of and something I've worked hard towards so it's pretty exciting and an exciting year ahead as well, with the Olympics."
For many young rugby players, there is a clear pathway to professional rugby; make your school first XV, produce impressive performances and get scouted by a professional organisation.
Warbrick's path was a little trickier. His final year at Rotorua Boys' High School, 2015, was the same year they were crowned national champions.
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The school was blessed with rugby talent, including the likes of fellow New Zealand sevens player Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, and Warbrick was unable to break into the side.
"They had a pretty strong side that year and there were a lot of good rugby players at the time. Rugby for me didn't really start until after school, I played club rugby at Te Teko and sort of from there it's been good.
"I thought [Ignite7] was pretty cool, it's a cool opportunity for people like myself - it's good for people who don't have a big rugby background or resume. It's an opportunity for people like that to get their name in the spotlight and have a chance. It's a different pathway but at the same time it has some really good people looking at it and watching it."
Despite some nerves when entering the All Blacks Sevens camp, he has grown to love the environment.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking when I first came in, I've watched a lot of these fellas over the years, but they really welcomed me - especially the senior players. They just really made me feel comfortable and we've all become close mates.
"Obviously the Olympics are a big goal but it's going to be a competitive season with positions and the squad we have. My first goal is just to play in a World Series tournament and go from there."
All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said Warbrick was an exciting talent.
"He's a big athlete for a start, he's tall, he's quick, he's good in the air and he's really physical around the contact area."
He said the Ignite7 programme was already proving its worth.
"Especially for someone like Will who's not necessarily in the 15s system. Obviously, he's played 15s but he didn't even play for his first XV here. We're finding players that maybe mature a little later and giving them an opportunity so if Red Bull helps us with that, it's an awesome addition to talent identification."
Laidlaw said Warbrick had also helped himself by showing a good attitude when in camp with the team.
"He came in as a replacement at the start of preseason - we had some boys in 15s and a couple of niggles from last year so he played a couple of weeks for the development team this year and we picked him up from there.
"It was his attitude. He was actually injured for a lot of the preseason and we played some trial games against Samoa where his attitude and his willingness to work urgently on and off the ball was what convinced us he should stay a little bit longer."
Meanwhile, senior player Dylan Collier, along with emerging stars Andrew Knewstubb and Tone Ng Shiu, have all re-committed to the side through to 2021.
The All Blacks Sevens travel to Dubai in two weeks for their first tournament of the season as defending champions. It is the first of 10 tournaments on the HSBC World Series before the Tokyo Olympic Games in July.