A former Whanganui representative has been given a "second chance" to pursue the rugby career he has always wanted.
Daniel Kauika, 22, is one of the five men selected for competition 'Second Chance Charlie' - for rugby players whose first chance at the professional game didn't exactly go their way.
The five players will compete over eight weeks to win their second chance, a 12-week development and training programme with their Super Rugby team, including a $10,000 cash prize.
Kauika, the Auckland Blues representative for the competition, first heard about the show from his partner.
"I got home from work and she said, 'I've signed you up for this show'."
Initially skeptical, Kauika wanted to learn more. After sending in a two-minute video of himself, he received a call just two hours later confirming he was selected for the show.
"Once I was fully selected, I was just really grateful."
Kauika is Whanganui born and raised, playing rugby at Gonville Primary, Rutherford Junior High and Whanganui High schools. In 2015, his final year of secondary school, Kauika was a member of the under-18 Hurricanes squad.
As time went on, it was another sport that began to captivate Kauika's interest.
"I was also doing waka ama at the same time. That's where the rugby went the other direction. Waka ama was going to different places at the time."
Kauika represented New Zealand at the 2012 and 2016 IVF Va'a World Sprint Championships, collecting silver in the 1000m race and bronze in the 500m sprint as part of the seven-man New Zealand junior under-19 squad in 2016.
After finishing at Whanganui High School, Kauika moved to Auckland and followed in his brother's footsteps, joining the Royal New Zealand Navy.
"As soon as I started focusing on my next career choice, I had to put everything aside for that. That's where another direction took off."
While still playing club rugby in Auckland, time was scarce with his role as a navy marine technician. The opportunity to participate on 'Second Chance Charlie' has reignited his rugby dream.
"It's just a second chance. I've loved rugby since I was a little kid, always grew up watching it, playing it, it's always just been there. It's never going to disappear.
"It's basically a dream come true."
Kauika learnt about his spot on the show just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, forcing him to get creative with training as gyms and facilities were closed.
"I'd do my best to get out every single day. I ended up buying a weighted vest just because I knew gyms were going to be shut down and tried utilising that to my advantage."
Kauika said it has been difficult juggling work and the show has "taken a bit of a toll" but he is determined to give his all.
'Second Chance Charlie' debuts on TV3 next Wednesday.