Tom Croft will enter the rarefied atmosphere of a British and Irish Lions Test match tomorrow, admitting: "I would never have dreamt it."
Croft becomes the first player since his fellow Leicester back-row forward Martin Corry eight years ago to start an opening Lions Test after not being selected in the original tour squad.
And Corry, who arrived from England's 2001 North America trip to replace an injured Simon Taylor in Australia, offered Croft some important words of advice.
"When I first got left out of the squad, I spoke to 'Cozza' because he had been in a similar position," he said. "He just said, 'keep your chin up and keep working hard.'"
The call from head coach Ian McGeechan was not long in coming though, with 23-year-old Croft summoned instead of a suspended Alan Quinlan, whose tour ended before the Lions left London.
It is all a far cry from Croft's first foreign rugby trip - to Amsterdam with Newbury Juniors - and further proof of his burgeoning status in the British game.
There is though, no danger of him getting carried away, despite a startling rise from England Under-21 international to Lions Test player in barely three years.
"When the Lions squad was announced I was training with Leicester," recalled the 13 times-capped Tigers and England flanker.
"And Richard Cockerill (Leicester head coach) just said 'bad luck,' tapped me on the back and we carried on with training. Being at a club like Leicester, you don't have time to dwell on it.
"If I had been at a club that hadn't done as well as Leicester had, I could have been sitting on the beach dwelling on what I could have done to push my case.
"But we were playing Heineken Cup rugby up until the day before we left for South Africa. I didn't really have time to think.
"Being at Leicester, your feet aren't allowed to leave the ground, because if your feet do leave the ground you get abused.
"Ultimately, that is probably the best club I could have been at, having not been selected." never satisfied with my game."