Rob Valetini had to skip his 21st birthday dinner to answer an injury call from the Wallabies, but Michael Cheika will deliver him the ultimate present on Saturday night.
The hulking ACT Brumbies rookie is set to make his Test debut in the Wallabies clash against Samoa and Parramatta after he was picked on the bench for the World Cup farewell.
It's an opportunity he has been waiting for since he was 12 years old, when he wrote himself a note about wanting to be a Wallaby.
The call finally came when he was about to meet family for a special dinner in Melbourne last week.
Cheika was on the other end telling him to cancel dinner to instead fly to Canberra and pack his bags for a training camp in New Caledonia.
He arrived in Noumea, had a birthday dinner with teammates and then Cheika told him of his selection the following day.
"I had to tell [my family] I couldn't come to dinner. I don't get too nervous until game day, so I'm more excited at this point," Valetini said.
"The anthem ... I've always watched that and seen the boys singing the anthem. That's something I'm looking forward to, just feeling the vibes and getting a taste of it.
"I still pinch myself every now and then to see where I've come from. I never thought I'd get a shot at the Wallabies.
"But to have that dream and to be a step closer to it, I can't describe it. There's no words to explain it."
The Wallabies' clash against Samoa will be a chance for several veterans to farewell Australian rugby, including David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Will Genia and Sekope Kepu.
Valetini represents the new breed alongside Tom Banks, Jordan Uelese and Liam Wright, who are only just at the start of their international careers.
Valetini has been earmarked as one of the next big things in Australian rugby, despite knee injuries limiting him to 13 games in his first two Super Rugby seasons.
His 113 kilogram and 193 centimetre frame make him one of the most intimidating 21-year-olds playing the sport, and he wants to make the most of his Wallabies chance.
"A few of the boys have told me to go out there and give it my best shot. I don't want this to be my only Test," Valetini said.
"I'm keen to experience and get a taste of it, and I definitely want more of it later on.
"I'll never know if I'm ready until I give it a shot. What a way to start it against some big Samoan boys. I'll take some knocks and hopefully give some back."
Pocock is at the other end of the spectrum and will retire from Wallabies duties at the end of this year.
He is confident a "frustrating" calf injury is completely behind him after six months of laborious rehabilitation.
"It's been frustrating," Pocock said on Friday. "When you're injured you want to be out there, you want to be doing everything you can to get back. I guess when you do get back you reflect on how much support you have had along the way from physios, medical staff, family and all the rest. It's been great to be back training with the team."
Pocock has only played No.7 - a position many believe he is best suited to - twice at international level since the last World Cup and if he has a favourable game it will no doubt ignite debate as to whether he, and not captain Michael Hooper, should play there at the game's showpiece.
"It's an opportunity for a bunch of players to show how they can play and an opportunity as a team to really build some momentum," Pocock said.
"It's been a few weeks since our last game and there was some real disappointment with that performance, so we've been working on building on that and getting some key learnings out of it.
"It's a really special occasion and we'll be giving them the respect they deserve."
WORLD CUP FAREWELL
Saturday: Wallabies v Samoa at Parramatta Stadium, 7.30pm.
Wallabies: 1. James Slipper, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 7. David Pocock, 8. Jack Dempsey, 9. Will Genia, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Matt Toomua, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Dane Haylett-Petty, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Luke Jones, 20. Liam Wright, 21. Rob Valetini, 22. Nick Phipps, 23. James O'Connor.