She's been described as “the most underrated rugby player New Zealand's ever had” so it’s understandable why Hazel Tubic still finds it surreal that she's gearing up for next week's World Cup.
After all, four years ago she was so convinced her time in the black jersey was done she jetted to Japan to take up a sevens contract.
“I probably wasn’t thinking I was ever going to be in the Black Ferns again let alone a World Cup,” she told 1News.
The jersey can gnaw at you though AS can your mates, niggling at her to try again.
“I suppose giving up and walking away is probably not in my character.”
More missed selections followed despite the 31-year-old consistently delivering at differing levels including for Chiefs Manawa and their coach Crystal Kaua.
“She’s probably the most underrated player New Zealand’s ever had,” Kaua told 1News.
“She’s the type of player who can change a game.”
And a call from Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith can change a player.
“The weight just lifted off me,” Tubic said.
He’d called to tell her she would have a chance to defend the world cup she helped win four years ago with a place in this year’s squad.
“It’s just a feeling you can’t explain until you’re in that moment I suppose.”
Kaua said the women’s rugby community in New Zealand will share in that moment with her.
“Players rate her, like the playing group of New Zealand rate Hazel and would be genuinely happy for her,” Kaua said.
“She deserves to be there.”