All Blacks: Asafo Aumua ready to claim second chance

By his own admission, Asafo Aumua's a lucky man.

On Monday, Aumua was recalled to the All Blacks squad to play Japan next month, after one of the most challenging periods of his professional career.

"It's been a tough year," Aumua told Newshub.

"I'm pretty shocked, I didn't really think I'd be in there again."

Twelve months ago, Aumua demanded a national call up with some stunning form for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup, which made him impossible to ignore.

But he's endured a testing time since, and he accepts it was mostly his own doing.

Inexplicably, Aumua showed up to his first Hurricanes camp overweight and unfit. Then-coach Chris Boyd chose not to select him due to poor conditioning.

"I had too much of a holiday, then came back to pre-season not in shape. I had to get my conditioning back to how I wanted it to be so took it week-by-week, doing more conditioning work on the bikes."

Along with his fitness concerns, a wrist injury meant the 21-year-old missed nearly the entire Super Rugby season.

But his return for Wellington's domestic season has been timely, and lessons have clearly been learnt.

"As soon as I got back, I had a chat with the trainers and coaches and had to take it on the chin…put my head down and grind it out."

And now Aumua has another chance to remind the country what a talent he is.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity. I want to learn off the best in the world."

It's an attitude Aumua can't afford to let slip again if he wants his name to become a regular on the All Blacks team sheet.