Recalled All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino had one concern when heading off to South Africa with the Blues during the latter stages of the Rebel Sport Super 14 competition.
That was what size of South African forward was first going to test the fitness of his rehabilitated shoulder.
He needn't have worried, it turned out to be one of the smaller players in Cheetahs wing Gaffie du Toit.
"I was quite blessed that my shoulder held out and it was the lungs and legs that got me worried," he said after assembling with the All Blacks in Auckland on Monday.
"I didn't have any expectations going into those games.
"I had 30 minutes of club rugby before going into it and I thought it was a positive that my shoulder held out quite well and my fitness was holding up for most of the games. I didn't think I would do enough to get back into the All Blacks fold but it was a blessing just to get back in," he said.
Kaino was the first of coach Graham Henry's end-of-season-tour 'bolts from the blue' when chosen to tour with the All Blacks in 2004.
These experience-building exercises for potential All Blacks have been invaluable in building the base of exposure to top-level rugby for younger internationals, and Kaino made his mark in his match against the Barbarians on that tour.
However, the tour had some cost for Kaino as it upset the natural equilibrium of his game and he admitted that coming away from the tour he was still on 'an All Black buzz' and it took him some time to come back to Earth.
"But I've learnt from my mistakes and what went wrong back then, and hopefully that'll make me a better player this time around," he said.
Kaino had a big season for Auckland in last year's NPC-winning campaign but finished under duress with his injured shoulder heavily-strapped for the semifinal and final.
"I wasn't really going through any pain but the big thing that put the nail in the coffin was when I went to tackle Greg Rawlinson in the final.
"When I went to push up off the ground I couldn't feel anything in my shoulder and that was when I knew I had to get something done," he said.
Unfortunately, that ruled him out of what would have been a place in the Grand Slam tour.
"I got to the point where I couldn't risk my season this year.
"If I had a bad season this year I would have a real struggle to get back into World Cup selection next year so it would be better to get it done early and have a strong season when I get back," he said of his operation.
His time away from playing while recuperating only confirmed his feeling that he wanted to be back in the playing action.
He didn't think he would really be back into top-action until the Air New Zealand Cup this year but an opportunity came with the injuries in the Blues camp.
"Watching rugby for the last couple of months, the loose forwards have just been going from strength to strength.
"Just look at the Wellington loose forward trio," he said.
Coupled with the performances by the loose forwards throughout the New Zealand Super 14 franchises, and his feeling of desire to be back in the action, there is a feeling of wanting to take every chance available.
"When I get out there and train, I will have the feeling that this could be a-once-in-a-lifetime chance for me," he said.