Former Hautapu and Hamilton Old Boys player Spencer Jones made his international rugby debut for Canada on September 4 in their 34-14 upset win over the USA Eagles, even grabbing the Man of the Match award.
The victory at St John's, Newfoundland in Canada marked the first time that Canada had defeated the United States since 2013 and it was their first 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualification pathway match.
The United States started off well, leading 7-0 in the opening two minutes thanks to a penalty try.
Canada answered back quickly to level up 7-7, despite being down a man after Matt Heaton was sent to the sideline with a yellow card.
Canada would take their first lead of the match shortly after with a penalty from Peter Nelson, one of his two penalties and four conversions in a windy affair at Swilers Rugby Club.
Inspired defence contributed to an impressive first half for Canada, who were forced to play a man down on two occasions after a yellow card to Connor Keys as well.
A late try to USA saw the teams head into halftime with the visitors leading 14-10.
Captain Lucas Rumball wasted no time putting his team back in front, scoring in the 42nd minute for a 17-14 lead.
Ben LeSage followed suit after 52 minutes as a fit Canadian squad started to gain momentum.
Rookie Brock Webster sent the St John's crowd into a frenzy with a perfectly timed interception and dotted down just before the final hooter.
Nelson added the conversion to put Canada up 34-14 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
A late try from the USA would be the final play of the match, with Canada taking a 34-21 advantage into the second leg of their World Cup Qualification series in Colorado.
The second match in the two-leg series between Canada and USA will be played on September 11 to determine which team progresses to the Americas 1 play-off against Uruguay next month.
"I was super happy, humbled and taken back. It was a very exciting moment," says 24-year-old Spencer.
"It meant the world to me. It was very humbling to have my name read out to join the team and be able to go out and represent Canada and my family."
Born in Vancouver, Canada, to a Kiwi dad and a Canadian mum, Jones moved to Cambridge in 2012 along with his parents and sister Mackenzie (partner of All Black Quinn Tupaea).
He attended Hamilton Boys' High School and then Cambridge High School before two years with the Hautapu Sports Club in Cambridge (2016-2017).
In 2016, Jones played for the Waikato Under 19 team along with the likes of All Blacks Samisoni Taukei'aho, Du'Plessis Kirifi and Luke Jacobson.
He then played one season (2018) with Hamilton Old Boys Rugby & Sports Club before moving to Texas, US, to play his code.
"I was playing club rugby in Texas and a man named Clay Panga [a former Canadian loose forward] had asked if I wanted to move to Victoria, British Columbia, to play rugby," says Jones.
From there he represented Panga's club, Westshore RFC in the British Columbia Premier League.
"The house that I moved into in Victoria was with a bunch of the boys who played for the Toronto Arrows and I was fortunate enough for one of them to put my name through to the Arrows."
Jones is now in his third season with the Arrows after debuting for them in the 2019 Major League Rugby competition, the club's inaugural year.
He has played 25 matches for the Arrows, scoring 23 points.
"Jones appeared in 16 matches for the Arrows in 2019. The centre produced a strong debut season with the club, finishing third on the team in linebreaks (9), third in minutes played (1,171), fourth in carry metres (719), fourth in offloads (6), fifth in made tackles (159), fifth in carries (82), and seventh in tries scored (3)," it says on the Toronto Arrows website.
Jones says international rugby was a major step up from playing MLR.
"The game was a lot faster and harder hitting. You have to make a lot more decisions quicker because you are playing against some of the best."
But being able to represent Canada is by far Jones' career highlight to date.
"Running out in the Canadian jersey for the first time, being able to represent my family on the biggest stage of rugby, listening to the national anthem and taking it all in was a pretty special moment."
His family is his biggest inspiration.
"Dad always had a rugby ball in my hand, coaching me throughout the years and being on the sideline after every game giving me the good and the bad of the game," says Jones.
"With help from my sister and Mum, they always keep me excited to get out and work, train and play rugby. They inspire me every day to go out and aim to be the best."