Kieran Foran is very thankful.
“I’m just chuffed. It’s a bloody honour to be back,’’ said a beaming Foran, who has been named on the interchange bench for Saturday's Tests against Tonga.
“Having been through what I have been through over the course of my career, getting back into these surrounds now probably means more than it did 10 years ago.”
And what a well-deserved honour it is too for the much loved and admired 'Foz', who has been in superb form this season for Manly after a successful club return to the Sea Eagles in 2021.
Foran returns to the Kiwis team for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against Great Britain in early November, 2019.
Kieran Foran returns to the New Zealand team
With 22 Tests behind him for the Kiwis, Foran is not take anything for granted as he enjoys ‘camp life’ once again.
And adding to Foran’s enjoyment even more is knowing his wife and children will be flying over for the Test against Tonga at Mt Smart Auckland on Saturday.
“Karina was with me when I got back in the Kiwis team in 2019 and I did my shoulder three minutes into the game. That was pretty disheartening,’’ Foran reflected.
This time around, it’s going to be a very proud moment for my familyKieran Foran
“With the Test being the first game of top level rugby league back in New Zealand for two or three years due to COVID, you can only imagine the amount of support the Kiwis and the Tonga team are going to get. It’s going to go through the roof.
“It’s great for the country, great for the New Zealand supporters, and great for the Warriors fans that have still supported rugby league with their team having been based in Australia.
“Whenever you represent your country, it’s a massive honour but being involved in the first game back in New Zealand after what’s gone on, it's going to ben an atmosphere that many players have never experienced before.
'It will be something they will never forget.”
New Zealand Kiwis vs Mate Ma'a Tonga
Saturday, June 25
3.20pm (AEST), Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Live on Nine/Fox/Kayo