Gareth Thomas admits that he has been "blown away" by the excitement of his first British & Irish Lions tour – but the best could be yet to come.
The Wales star found himself playing catch-up after arriving in New Zealand more than a week after his Lions colleagues due to French Championship commitments with Toulouse.
The waiting game though, finally ended with his try-scoring display in Wednesday’s 23-6 victory over Wellington, when Thomas put down a selection marker for the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday week.
And while he is keen to play down the impact he made at Westpac Stadium, Wales’ record try marksman appears on course for an All Blacks collision.
"I am never one to talk about personal achievements. It is a cliche, but it is a team game and I was just glad to be part of a winning team," said wing Thomas, after returning to the squad’s Christchurch base on Thursday.
"I missed a couple of tackles and there were a couple of knock-ons, but generally, I was pleased with the contribution I made to a winning team effort.
"I will be having a break at the end of this season, for sure. I think I have played more club games – 35, maybe 40 – than ever before, and when you put the internationals and now the tour on top of that, it has been a long time.
"But now is not the time to complain about that. As far as I concerned, I am with a great bunch of guys and I am willing to work, putting my body on the line for whatever team and for whatever match I get selected in."
Thomas has certainly set about making up for lost time, and he feels at ease in such a high-powered, star-studded environment as the Lions.
"Coming out, I spoke to Clive (Woodward), and I didn’t want to be any kind of a special case. The decision was with them, if I could not come out on time and they wanted to bring another player, then it was their decision. I didn’t want any special treatment," he added.
"The one thing we agreed on was that the later I arrived, the less chance I had of playing in the first Test team. I knew that from the off, so from the time I got here, it was not so much making an impression with the coaches, but with the players.
"It was about showing them that I did want to be here, and I do want to be here now. I am willing to do everything it takes to integrate with the boys. I have only been here a week, but I feel I get on with the guys on and off the field.
"It is kind of crazy – it’s massive. Obviously, this is my first tour and I have never been involved in anything this big. The whole concept of it is absolutely phenomenal, it has blown me away, really."