Four years ago when overlooked for the Wallabies, Nic White wondered if he'd ever play another Test, let alone make a World Cup.
Now the Hunter product gets the chance to live out his boyhood dream in Japan and, from this weekend's tournament opener against Fiji, he could be Australia's starting halfback.
The Wallabies have a selection meeting scheduled for Tuesday with 29-year-old White and 105-Test veteran Will Genia the two scrumhalf options for coach Michael Cheika.
Regardless of whether he's wearing the No.9 jersey or sitting on the bench, White said he was pleased to turn around the disappointment of missing the UK tour in 2015.
"That broke my heart," White said.
"To be so close four years ago and then miss out was tough. A World Cup had always been a dream of mine and I thought that could have been it. I might not even play another Test.
"So to get the call this time was very satisfying. What better place to test yourself than a World Cup. It's the ultimate test as a rugby player, especially when the heat is on. I can't wait to get out there and be part of it all."
Making the recall even sweeter, White was contacted last month by a four-time World Cup representative, the most capped international halfback and former Wallaby captain.
"George Gregan rang me to say I was going to the World Cup, which made it really special," he said.
The former ACT Brumbies player has been plying his trade overseas, first with Montpellier in France and more recently Exeter in England, since the previous World Cup.
White rejoined the Australian squad in June before adding four Tests to his name during the Rugby Championship, featuring two Bledisloe Cup matches.
"It has been a rollercoaster few months," the Scone-bred Maitland Blacks junior said.
"It's basically all gone from naught to 100 pretty quickly, but it has helped me to have a narrow focus because I haven't been able to look too far ahead."
Also offering a different perspective has been White's life off the field.
Since initially shipping out of Australia in 2015, he has lived in two European locations, married and become a father.
"They say when life is good off the field then it shows on the field," White said.
"I feel like I'm playing some of the best rugby of my career. I wish I had [son] Leo years ago."
His wife Mel, son Leo and Maitland-based parents, Tom and Di, will be travelling to Japan at various stages throughout the tournament.
A few former Blacks players are also set to be in the stands for a couple of fixtures.
White said having a few "familiar faces" around will help remind him of home.
"I'm representing Australia when I'm out there, but there's a little bit of my story in there as well," he said.
"So it means Scone and Maitland are never too far from my mind."
White said the Wallabies' camp in New Caledonia, before departing for Japan earlier this month, allowed players "time to bond" and helped "build belief".
Fellow Maitland junior Luke Burgess (2007) was the last, and believed only other, men's World Cup rugby representative from the Hunter.
Following Fiji on Saturday, Australia have Wales (September 29), Uruguay (October 5) and Georgia (October 11) in pool games.