Scarlets sensation Tavis Knoyle has dedicated his first Wales cap against the All Blacks to his close family.
The 20-year-old scrum-half came on for his Test debut to replace the injured Andrew Bishop in the final six minutes of the 42-9 defeat in Dunedin last weekend.
Magners League rookie Knoyle, who combined rugby with a job in the coal mine of Onllwyn only 18 months ago, has paid tribute to dad David, mum Kay and brother Lewis.
“I had mixed emotions but I want to thank my family for everything they have done for me in my rugby upbringing,” said Knoyle, who misses out to Mike Phillips and Richie Rees for Saturday’s second Test.
“It was a huge honour for me to come on and represent my country and I wanted to do my best but it was difficult in the circumstances.
“If someone had told me at the start of the season I’d be playing for Wales against the All Blacks then I would have said they needed their head examined.
“Of course, it was a great experience and Rob Howley gave me a pat on the back at the end and said ‘Well done’. But the scoreline was so disappointing because we had been training so well especially after the South Africa game.”
Knoyle only made his Magners League debut at the beginning of the season just gone after he made the switch from the Ospreys to the Scarlets.
And despite having Wales cap Martin Roberts to contend with for the No9 shirt in Llanelli, the youngster impressed significantly whenever he was given game time.
Knoyle went on to play in 10 of the region’s 18 Magners League games, starting five times and making the same number of appearances off the bench.