For Zac Guildford even to be considering playing a part in Saturday's first test against Ireland shows how far he has come in six months.
From the depths of the aftermath to his drunken activities in Rarotonga after the World Cup to being on the brink of playing for the All Blacks in their first outing as world champions is a testament to the hard work he has put in, along with that of his coaches and mentors.
With his first squad selection as All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen has proven that form isn't a prerequisite for him - the choice of Piri Weepu as senior halfback evidence of that - so Guildford must have wondered how much of a future he had in the black jersey after his indiscretions last year which reached a head on the Cook Islands.
As it is, he has played well for the Crusaders on the left wing, his form resurgence following a shift in gear from the red and blacks. Guildford has scored three tries in the past two games - 50-point victories over the Blues and Highlanders - and his combination with Crusaders and All Blacks first-five Dan Carter, in particular, seems to be working well.
Cantabs say Guildford is back to his best off the pitch too, with All Blacks mental-skills coach Gilbert Enoka, who also works with the Crusaders, responsible for many of the improvements.
Guildford missed the initial training squad but was brought in by Hansen after the injury to Richard Kahui, who was likely to have played on one wing. Cory Jane, now also injured, would have played on the other.
With Hansen hinting that Julian Savea could make his debut in his specialist left wing position at Eden Park, Guildford is leading the pack for the relatively unfamiliar position on the right.
The other contenders are another left wing, Hosea Gear, and utility Ben Smith. All will be revealed today.
Guildford's last test was in the World Cup against Canada, a match in which he scored four tries. Now he is hoping to add to his test and try tally against the Irish, saying the form of his franchise had given him a boost. "As a whole we've played pretty well for the past few games and I'd just like to keep that momentum building individually if I do get a chance."
The All Blacks are expecting a direct approach from Ireland, although a forwards-based onslaught will be severely hindered by the likely absence of tighthead prop Mike Ross, who has a hamstring strain. Ireland are already without veteran Munster lock Paul O'Connell, who didn't make the trip.
Guildford, who has played eight tests and took the field against Ireland as a replacement in the All Blacks' big win in New Plymouth two years ago, said he was also expecting an aerial bombardment.
"From what I can see, they like to put a bit of snow on the ball so we'll be tested with those contestables [kicks]."
Reflecting on being brought into the squad, Guildford said he had been confident it would come.
"I knew if I worked hard and kept out of trouble and did the right things on the field then eventually it would come but I'm very grateful to get the opportunity again," he said.
Taking the field again, is probably not far away.