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
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.