Ngāti Porou's Apirana Pewhairangi found great reward in playing against Fiji, as it was an honourable opportunity to represent his grandmother's homeland, Ireland.
Pewhairangi told Te Kāea over the phone that his grandmother’s name is Margaret Bingnam, she married his mother's father, and she’s a McDonald and was born in Lucan, Ireland.
At first, Pewhairangi worried about joining an unfamiliar Irish squad, but received a warm welcome.
He believes he has learnt plenty from the guys in England, and he loves the country.
Pewhairangi admits playing international is an eye-opener, and says it has become one of the highlights in his rugby league career.
“It's a huge honour to play alongside the likes of Brett White, who has represented Australia and played in State of Origin,” he said.
Despite their loss, Ireland had a very sound defence and plenty came out of the result that will better prepare them for when they face England on Saturday in front of 25,000 spectators.