Waiuku's Nick Lyons is the 2021 2nd Chance Charlie representing the Gallagher Chiefs region on the channel Three television show.
The 29-year-old aspiring Chiefs hooker was forced into premature retirement at 20 after three shoulder reconstructions – the first of which was in Year 12 (sixth form).
"I had a mate that was on the show last year as well. I got a bit of encouragement from seeing him on it," Lyons says.
"It's pretty cool to get given a second chance at rugby, it meant a lot."
For most of his life he has played club rugby for Waiuku with a stint for Auckland University RFC.
Lyons has played a lot of rep rugby over the years and still hasn't given up the hope.
He played three years of First XV for Saint Kentigern College, captaining in his last year, as well as Auckland Under 16, Auckland Under 18 As (two years), Northern Region Bs, Blues Under 18 (ruled out of the tournament through injury), Counties Manukau Under 20 (two years) and made the Counties Manukau Steelers training squad as a 20 year old before he injured his shoulder for the third time.
"I stopped playing rugby between 20 and 25. Just because of injuries, my shoulder. I thought I needed to get a trade and get another career outside of rugby."
For that five-year period he was living in Perth and on returning to New Zealand he played two more seasons of rugby, but previous to the show, it had been two years since Lyons was on the field.
"I snapped my Achilles twice, ruptured it. So that was almost it really, I decided that was probably it for rugby. The show gave me the motivation again to get back into it and give it one last crack."
All Black legends Stephen Donald, also from Waiuku, and Liam Messam have teamed up with Three and 2degrees to tackle the job of selecting the five rugby hopefuls who will take part in Three's television series, 2nd Chance Charlie.
The show is fully funded by 2degrees while Three make it and air it.
"I'd like to thank 2degrees for giving us guys the opportunity," Lyons says.
The rugby superstars selected five Charlies from hundreds of players who all applied for a second chance at rugby success.
"It's probably for the love of rugby and just seeing a lot of guys that I played with making it big on TV and playing all over the world. I know that I was capable like them and that's sort of what keeps bringing me back to it.
"My goal is to get back into shape, win the competition and try to make Counties to start with and go from there."
Throughout the series they will work alongside 2nd Chance Charlie trainer and ex professional rugby player Joe Naufahu, assessing and evaluating the Charlies' training progress with their Super Rugby team.
After eight weeks of training, Donald and Messam will select the winning Charlie who will receive a three-month personalised training, mentoring and development programme designed by their Super Rugby club, plus $15,000 prize money.
Donald has the ultimate second chance story after being added to the All Blacks squad at the eleventh hour and going on to kick the now infamous winning goal in the 2011 RWC final.
"I'm really excited to be part of this season's 2nd Chance Charlie and to potentially help someone change their life. Hopefully they make the most of this second chance because as we all know, it's not always a smooth path," Donald says.
Messam missed out on an All Blacks RWC spot back in 2011. He fought hard for his second chance and went on to play 43 caps for his country and was part of the winning All Blacks squad at the 2015 RWC.
"We have some fantastic players who truly deserve a second chance and I am really excited and proud to be taking this journey with them," Messam says.
Following the success of last year's five-minute quick smart episodes, the show has been scaled up to full 30-minute length episodes and premiered on Thursday, May 6 at 9.30pm on Three and continues every Thursday as well as encoring Sundays at 5.30pm.
One player will also be voted the 2degrees People's Choice, and win $5000.
This year's 2nd Chance Charlies are:
Damon Abraham, 22 - training as a prop with the Blues
Nick Lyons, 29 - training as a hooker with the Chiefs
Tipene Meihana, 20 - training as a wing with the Hurricanes
Tim Murgatroyd, 28 - training as second five-eighth with the Crusaders
Ben Carpenter, 28 - training as a No 8 with the Highlanders