For Krystal Murray, her prime focus is to ensure the Northland Kauri qualify for the final of the Farah Palmer Cup, rather than dwell on her selection in the Black Ferns.
The Kaitaia-born and bred is one of two Northland players selected in the national side that will play England and France during their Europe tour in October and November.
New Zealand sevens powerhouse Portia Woodman, capped 16 times by the Black Ferns, is the only other Northlander in the squad.
Woodman is one of the six outside backs, who also include fellow NZ sevens rep Kelly Brazier.
Northland Kauri skipper Murray boasts an impressive CV— she's a dual international, having previously played for the Kiwi Ferns, and competed at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
She is the leading try-scorer in the 2021 Farah Palmer Cup, but that will mean nothing if the Kauri couldn't get past Hawke's Bay in the preliminary final at Semenoff Stadium in Whangārei on Friday.
"It's always been a dream to play for the Black Ferns and wanted to do that while playing for my province and amongst my people. I am one of the lucky ones to make it later in life," said the 28-year-old.
"I am a bit older to make my debut but I am blessed, coming from a small rural area. We entered the Farah Palmer Cup only three years ago and will be playing in the semis this year."
Murray was inspired to take up rugby by her cousins and started with the U9s then skipped U11 and competed in the U13s and all the way through the age grades, before her selection in the Northland secondary schools team.
She started as a fullback and moved to No. 8 after putting on weight.
"Got to move with times when you put on an extra 30 kilos," said Murray, who now plays prop.
She looked up to former All Black Jerome Kaino as her inspiration.
"He was one of my favourite players, he was always consistent, was a machine and a beast."
Her advice to budding rugby players, especially those living in far-flung places: "Stay motivated. Nothing comes easy. You have to keep going and you'll make it happen."
Northland Kauri made the semis after beating Hawkes Bay Tuis 46-31away; losing 12-39 at home to Manawatu Cyclones; hammering Tasman Women 27-0 away and a home 41-3 trouncing of Taranaki Women.
If the Kauri win on Friday, they will play in the Championship final on October 9 against Manawatu Cyclones.
Northland Kauri kick-off against Hawke's Bay at Semenoff Stadium, Whangārei, at 4.35pm, ahead of the Bunnings NPC games between Northland Taniwha and Waikato, which kicks off at 7.05pm.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Auckland, Counties Manukau and North Harbour had to withdraw from the remainder of the Farah Palmer Cup.