There's long been a road block at openside flanker in the All Blacks and Dillon Hunt isn't hiding his desire to jump up the queue.
"Oh yeah it's always in the back of my mind," he told Newshub. "It'd be pretty exciting to be a part of the All Blacks machine, I mean, they're the best team in the world."
Hunt's already had a taste of the All Black environment, coming off the bench against a French XV last year.
Now, he has his sights set on more time in black on this year's Northern Hemisphere tour, beginning against Australia in Tokyo on October 27. That 51-strong team will be announced on Monday.
"I've always wanted to be there and it's nice to be even talked about in those circles," he said.
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"Just being there and around the environment this year, going to some of the camps has made me even hungrier to get into the team and make my mark on it."
With first-choice Sam Cane out for the year with a broken neck and long-time back-up Matt Todd playing club rugby in Japan, the spotlight was always going to fall on the provincial candidates lining up behind them.
Given his form for the Highlanders and North Harbour, Hunt's a frontrunner, but he isn't thrown off by any extra attention.
"This is rugby," he insists. "You're always getting people watching and different scenarios going on, but the best thing you can do for your footy is just to go out there and focus on the task at hand."
Hunt's completed that task well enough so far - there's no doubt he's on the All Blacks radar.
He now hopes that means he's on the team sheet tomorrow.
Join us at 1pm Monday for a live-streamed announcement of the All Blacks squad to tour Japan and Europe in October/November.