Sam Warburton aims to follow former school team-mate Gareth Bale by winning his first Wales cap this weekend after being named on the bench this weekend.
Warburton attended Whitchurch High School in Cardiff and played alongside Tottenham Hotspur and Wales star Bale in the same football side.
But the Cardiff Blues' young gun chose rugby over soccer and is set to be rewarded with his first Test appearance from the replacement bench against Canada in Toronto on Saturday.
Warburton, 20, said: "I was in high school with Gareth and we were in the same group of mates and I was in quite a few classes with him so I used to come across him a fair bit.
"We played in the same school team too and you could tell he was going to be a professional from year seven - he was outstanding and the best footballer I've ever seen.
"He was awesome and head and shoulders above the rest. He was always really busy and going down to Southampton before he made the move full-time.
"He's worked really hard at his game and he's reaping the rewards now."
Budding sporting talent Warburton had a trial with his home-town Cardiff City at the age of 14. But he admits he has no regrets in following close pal Bale by pursuing a career in football.
Warburton said: "I was a good school player but there was no chance of me being another Gareth Bale. He's in a league of his own. I did have a trial at Cardiff City but it made me realise how far off I was and how rugby would be my best chance.
"I suppose my claim to fame was when Gareth said if I wasn't playing in defence our team wouldn't win!
"I used to play centre-back but I don't think I would ever have made a living out of football. I only turned to rugby seriously when I was about 15 and you have to make a decision at that age. You can't play both alongside each other.
"I still play a bit of football, but rugby has definitely taken over now and I absolutely love it."
Warburton has been earmarked for international honours for some time having represented Wales at every age-grade and captained both the Three Feathers' under-19 and under-20 sides.
But the openside flanker has been dogged by injuries, a shoulder reconstruction and a serious knee injury, which has forced him to wait until five months shy of his 21st birthday to fulfil a boyhood's dream.
And with British Lions star Martyn Williams away in South Africa, Warburton admits he has a golden chance to stamp his mark on the number seven jersey.
Warburton said: "My favourite position is seven and that's where I'd like to be long term. I started out there at school and after a brief stint in the second row, I moved back to cover all positions between six and eight.
"But to play at No 8 nowadays, you've got to be 6ft 4ins like Andy Powell and Ryan Jones. I'm never going to be that size so seven will be my long-term position."
WALES: Daniel Evans; Tom James, Jonathan Davies, Andrew Bishop, Chris Czekaj; Dan Biggar, Gareth Cooper; Duncan Jones, Richard Hibbard, John Yapp, Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones Dafydd Jones, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Ryan Jones (Captain).
Replacements: Gareth Williams, Craig Mitchell, Ian Gough, Sam Warburton, Dwayne Peel, Nicky Robinson, Jonathan Spratt
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.