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
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
Carmarthen Quins Director of Rugby Ian Jones and committee member Jeff Thomas along with Llandovery chairman Handel Davies look ahead to Sunday's SSE SWALEC Cup showdown where both teams are out to prove 'West is best'
SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
Scarlets long serving prop Phil John talks to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie about Judgement Day IV and SSE Swalec Cup finals day. The last time Llandovery were in the cup final in 2007, the Drovers claimed the spoils with Phil playing a major role in the engine room.
Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
SSE Swalec Cup kings Pontypridd travelled to Swansea, fully expecting a return to their second home but Llandovery had other ideas as they also sought victory in the semi-final to earn the right to play the final at Principality Stadium