Rory Arnold has been cradling his right hand for almost two months to avoid well wishes and handshakes crushing his World Cup ambition.
A fractured bone threatened to end his tournament before it started, but the tallest player in Australian rugby history has promised to leave nothing in the tank when he makes his debut on Saturday.
Arnold will take the next step in his remarkable journey in the Wallabies' World Cup opener on Saturday just five years after working in a sugar mill and being an unknown bush-footy giant.
He's one of three ACT Brumbies players making their World Cup debut, with Allan Alaalatoa and Christian Lealiifano also picked in the Wallabies' starting side for the clash against Fiji.
It's a moment Arnold feared may pass him by when doctors told him he needed scans to determine how bad his hand injury was.
"I was pretty nervous for a while. I didn't think it would be too bad and that I might play the next week," Arnold said.
"Then they said it was a fracture ... but straight away they said it wasn't a big one. That was the moment of relief because before that I was wondering if that was it for the World Cup.
"All of that plays on your mind a bit and I'm lucky it wasn't bad. There are some players that missed out ... it wouldn't be good if I was just happy to be there.
"I want to play games, I want to represent my country and my family. I can't wait."
The Wallabies will unleash Arnold on Fiji, as well as promoting David Pocock to the starting side despite the flanker playing just one game since injury ended his Brumbies season in March.
Scott Sio and James Slipper will continue their loosehead prop combination on the national stage, but coach Michael Cheika couldn't find room for Folau Faingaa or Tevita Kuridrani.
The World Cup opportunity is a long way from Arnold's days for the Murwillumbah third-grade side, where he would train without boots because he couldn't find any big enough to fit him.
He was working at a sugar mill and living at home when the prospect of a rugby career started to become real and he launched his career at the Brumbies in 2015, the year of the last World Cup.
Arnold arrived in Canberra as an imposing giant, weighing almost 140 kilograms. He dropped 20 kilograms and developed into a 208 centimetre second-row weapon.
"Sometimes I'll call home and mum reminds me that I was working at a sugar mill not that long ago, she can't believe it," Arnold, 29, said.
"The scary thing is that it's all going to be over [in Australia] quickly as well. I want to make the most of the opportunity I've been given and really enjoy it. It is pretty surreal, I'm very grateful."
Arnold will join French club Toulouse earlier this year, a decision which could have scuppered his World Cup selection chances.
"But [Wallabies coach Michael Cheika] was pretty straight forward with me. He said he wouldn't hold a grudge and it wouldn't affect my chances, I was pretty stoked with that," Arnold said.
"I probably started thinking the World Cup was possible in the last couple of years. It was one of the drivers for me, I knew this was going to be my last season. I'm just happy I've got the chance."
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to throw Pocock straight into the World Cup cauldron after proving he has overcome his calf injury woes..
"We want to do two things; to do our best to win the tournament but also to show young people in Australia who are watching, how beautiful the game of rugby can be and inspire them to play rugby back home in the future," Cheika said.
The Wallabies will take on Wales at Tokyo Stadium in their second Pool D clash before games against Uruguay and Georgia in Oita and Shizuoka on October 5 and October 11, respectively. The two highest-ranked teams at the end of the pool stage will advance to the Quarter Finals.
Saturday: Wallabies v Fiji at Sapporo Dome, 2.45pm.
Wallabies: 15. Kurtley Beale, 14. Reece Hodge, 13. James O'Connor, 12. Samu Kerevi, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Nic White, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Michael Hooper (capt), 6. David Pocock, 5. Rory Arnold, 4. Izack Rodda, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Tolu Latu, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. James Slipper, 18. Sekope Kepu, 19. Adam Coleman, 19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20. Will Genia, 21. Matt Toomua, 22. Dane Haylett-Petty.