Wales veteran Colin Charvis has revealed he has been as much of a surprise off the field at the Newport Gwent Dragons as on it, where his form has earned him a recall from national coach Gareth Jenkins ahead of the RBS Six Nations Championship.
The 84-times capped 2001 British Lion was written off from further Test honours in many quarters after failing to make last summer's Wales tour to Argentina and being omitted from their November games against Australia, Canada, Pacific Islands and New Zealand.
In the meantime he was forced into 'semi-retirement' during the off-season when it seemed he might not secure a professional contract after parting company with Newcastle.
But the Dragons finally stepped in and since regaining fitness the ex-Wales skipper's form has been a revelation.
He has also earned new friends off the field with a personal charm he says few at Rodney Parade expected him to possess.
Charvis said: 'My reputation- thanks to the media - for being a difficult person went ahead of me.
"Then to go to the Dragons and actually be an amiable guy surprised a lot of supporters and it surprised some of the players as well because of the things they'd heard about me.
'I'm just the same as the other guys. I just role up my sleeves and go to work every morning and see what we can achieve on the weekend.
"Maybe people were surprised I wasn't the pain in the proverbial most people thought I was going to be.'
However, Charvis remains a proverbial pain to opponents in the contact area and he puts that down to having enough experience to overcome the physical deficiencies that come with being 34 years of age.
He said: 'Who knows whether I'll play one or five games in the Six Nations? You've just got to look forward to the next team you're selected in.
'I set a lot of goals for this season when I joined the Dragons and what I wanted to achieve. Getting myself back to fitness and playing well for them was the first thing.
'It took a while and a lot of us put the work in for the recognition we've had. The supporters and coaches seem very happy with the way things are going and one of my goals was to get back into the Welsh squad and I've done that."
Assistant coach Richie Murphy has refused to rule any Ireland player out ahead of their RBS 6 Nations clash with France this weekend after Leinster back Fergus McFadden was called up to the squad as cover.