Taranaki thorn among the Irish Roses
He'll never be an All Black, but Ciaran Forsythe's a Rose of Tralee escort and to him that's just as good.
"The Irish lads tell me that being selected to be an escort for the Roses is like a Kiwi kid growing up and being picked for the All Blacks," he said.
"I play football, so I'm not going to be selected for the All Blacks anytime soon." Next month the 26-year-old will head to Ireland to be one of 32 Rose of Tralee escorts.
The Rose of Tralee is a beauty contest open to anyone of Irish heritage and Forsythe is the first New Zealander to be selected for the male side of the international competition.
He will take care of a finalist, escort them on stage, make sure their family is in the right place at the right time and try to keep the luck of the Irish on his side.
The 32 Roses vote for their favourite escort and the winner gets €5000.
"I'll be there to be a charmer.
"I will be the winner, for sure."
While he'll be relying on his charms, he's not planning to meet an Irish lass to wed.
"My heart won't get broken because my heart will be in New Zealand with my girlfriend."
It won't be Forsythe's first time among smiling Irish eyes, though.
Last year he was in Ireland during the competition and was invited by his friend and former Taranaki and New Zealand rose Alana Marshall to come to Tralee for the grand final.
"It was quite funny actually because the town really stops for this.
"You'd be in a pub and there'd be 200 drunk Irish guys trying to keep everyone quiet so they could watch a beauty pageant on television."
Marshall, who was in Tralee to mentor the new contestants, then spent days telling Forsythe how he would be a great escort.
Since being selected in May, Forsythe, who has family from County Cork and County Derry, has been trying to get sponsorship from a Taranaki organisation.
Only the Taranaki Irish club and the Taranaki Rose of Tralee group has come on board from New Zealand so far.
Irish company Hydro Northern Ireland has helped out with the travel costs, but anyone wishing to donate can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taranaki Daily News