Brad Takairangi is one of four debutants to take the field for the Kiwis against Toa Samoa tomorrow night at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Paramatta Centre who wasn't considered for the squad at the beginning of the NRL season.
Happy to achieve a life-long dream considering Brad Takairangi wasn't even in the frame for selection.
“I think any young Māori kids dream is to play for the All Blacks or the Kiwis. I was young League boy and growing up, it's probably the only thing that's always been there for me that I wanted to achieve,” says Takairangi.
The Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa centre is one of four players set to make their debut. Takairangi has the support of senior players like Adam Blair and Simon Mannering to do the job.
“It's really good to learn under them. I'm really excited to rip into training, and hopefully, we can do some damage this world cup.”
Like every Māori kid, Takairangi dreamt of doing the Haka for New Zealand. Tomorrow, he gets to perform Te Iwi Kiwi – which is the official haka for the Kiwi’s - for the first time.
“We actually haven't had a practice yet, but it's an easy haka to learn, so I'm sure we'll be sweet.”
Takairangi has the tough task of marking Canberra Raiders explosive player Joey Leilua. The 28-year old will have a busy night against one of the NRL’s toughest attacking players.
“A lot of them are stacked. Sa (Samoa) and Tonga they've got a stacked team, some of them are my ex-teammates, some of them I play with now. All three are going to be tough, and we know we need to on our game.”
Tickets to the fixture are still available, with Mount Smart expecting to sell out come kick off tomorrow night.