Sonny Parker admits he was surprised when he got the late night, last-minute call to join Wales' summer tour of Canada and USA last Friday, but he couldn't have been more elated.
Parker will be 32 in August and he will reach the same number in international caps with just one appearance on tour, but, after a brief time in self induced retirement in 2006, he says he is more in love with the game than ever.
Injury has ruled him out of international contention for much of this season, but he sees this latest call-up as a real opportunity to get himself back in the reckoning as well as a chance to lend his experience to some of Wales' stars of the future.
"When Sean Holley rang me at around 10.30pm on Friday I was in holiday mode and expecting a lie-in the following morning, but the coaches had legislated for every eventuality and I knew the call-up could come and I was packed and ready to go within the hour," said the Ospreys centre speaking today from the sunny surroundings of the Wales team hotel in Toronto.
"I was surprised to be on standby and equally surprised when I was actually called in because I have been out of contention for much of the season.
"I'm loving my rugby more than ever, I've been playing well for the Ospreys, but you have to be up there all the time and consistent if you want to be selected at international level.
"But one thing I've learned during my time in the game is that you have to seize these moments and turn them into opportunities.
"I've been unavailable for much of this season, but you never lose hope of coming back and I have a chance now to be involved on this tour and put my hand up for next season too.
"We have got some good youngsters on this tour and as one of the senior guys I think I have a responsibility to help bring them through. Obviously I want to play myself, but I also hope the likes of Jonathan Spratt and Jonathan Davies get an opportunity too.
"Personally this is a first time for me in Canada and the US, but I know what touring is all about and you have to make sure you enjoy every second of it.
"At international level everything is done for you and you are free to concentrate on your rugby. Having retired once myself, which I regretted afterwards, I know that you only really have a short time in a sporting career and you have make sure you take in all the experiences.
"I won't be retiring again anytime soon, I've just signed a new three year contract at the Ospreys and I want to make sure I keep myself fit and at the top of my game and hopefully get some more international caps under my belt.
"One day my body will tell me it is time to finish but at the moment I'm still very much in love with the game and everything that comes with it and I never want it to end."
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