When Quin Strange heard NZR President Bill Osborne include his name in the 35-man All Blacks squad on Sunday, the first thing he wanted to do was talk to his dad.
However, the 24-year-old’s phone was immediately inundated with calls from friends and family, forcing Quin’s biggest fan to wait a while until eventually speaking to his son.
“He was pretty stoked especially being Father’s Day, he was over the moon.”
After battling injury throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa, Quin says he was not expecting the selection.
“I was pretty shocked at first, didn’t think it was real, but it was a really nice surprise.”
The Tasman-born lock says it has always been a dream of his to wear the silver fern.
“Ever since I was a young kid playing rugby with my brothers on the lawn, it was always about being an All Black.”
However, like most players, he says it won’t be real until he pulls on that black jersey and gets on the field.
“I’m halfway there being named in the squad, but the jersey isn’t given to you, you have to go out and earn it so that’s one thing I’d love to tick off.”
Looking out onto Nelson College’s front field, Quin recalls some of his greatest rugby memories.
“This is where your career starts really, it’s a pretty special field and a lot of memories playing with good mates.”
Growing up in Collingwood where player numbers are scarce, Quin says he was always playing in higher grades which helped harden him up for the professional game.
“I was playing U8’s when I was five or six, so I learnt to cop a few hidings.”
After starting out as a number eight, Quin eventually made the shift into the engine room.
“Most boys don’t like it because you don’t get the ball much and you’re doing the stuff a lot of people don’t see but I realised it was an opportunity to make it my own and I’ve grown to really enjoy it, and get involved in the contact.”
Quin grew up idolising fellow lock Sam Whitelock and in recent seasons has called him teammate at the Crusaders.
“I am learning off some world-class locks in Scott (Barrett), Luke (Romano) and Sam, he is a great player but I have also learnt that I am not Sam Whitelock, I have to create my own style and my own name.”
He says his experience with the ten-time Super Rugby champions has been invaluable.
“Four coaches in Leon MacDonald, Andrew Goodman, Jason Ryan and Razor (Scott Robertson), have all taught me something different and shaped me as a player which I am very thankful for.”
Quin’s campaigns with the Mako have also helped develop his game.
“We have built a good culture and it is a team I take a huge amount of pride in.”
He says it is an exciting time knowing there is still plenty of room for growth as a player.
“Now it’s about not dropping off the radar and keep moving forward, to make sure I’m the best Quin I can be.”