By Heath Moore
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup Piri Weepu was dubbed the All Blacks' saviour.
The Hurricane was elevated to cult status when he became the go-to guy after a string of injuries depleted the All Blacks' goal-kicking stocks. He became the face of a fashion trend when 'Keep Calm - Piri's On' T-shirts emerged.
But Weepu has revealed a secret that could have blown his rugby career.
In an interview with espn.co.uk, the halfback admitted he would use his middle name to secretly run out for his rugby league club Wainuiomata Lions less than 24 hours after featuring for the Hurricanes.
"We always used to figure out who was going to be there, and trying to work out whether the media would be there," he told espn.co.uk.
"Sometimes I'd put head gear on, or cover my face in mud right from the get go."
Weepu, a self-confessed rugby league tragic, grew up idolising Andrew Johns and Alfie Langer.
He dreamed of playing for the Kiwis, even after representing the All Blacks.
But he soon started to worry he'd one day be caught on the league field by All Blacks coach Graham Henry, a move that would have landed him in hot water with New Zealand Rugby.
"I remember reading a few articles about when Jerry [Collins] got caught. He played against Wainui and my dad, being him, knew who he was but kept quiet.
"Jerry was just having fun. Every opportunity I'd want to go and play club rugby; even when we had the weekend off, I'd want to play grassroots rugby. It's where it began for me."
Luckily for the All Blacks, and rugby union fans, Weepu wasn't caught.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup victory could have been in different hands, especially with the Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs knocking on the door for Weepu's signature.
Piri was tempted to follow the same path his brother Billy who represented NRL side Manly Sea Eagles between 1995 and 1997. However the Hurricanes did enough to keep Piri's services.
After a World Cup title to his name, Weepu now applies his trade in the Heartland Championship with Wairarapa.
He is proud to be an All Black, but the boy from Wainuiomata remains humble as retirement nears.
"I always play being an All Black down. I was so honoured and privileged to be within that group and to earn the jersey, but I never really speak about it.
Maybe it's because I don't want to blow wind up my bum... I just want to leave it as it is."