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Josh Dickson has always been a player who has stood out from the pack.
His height helps - he stands 2m but Dickson is also a player who is on the rise.
The lock played 14 games for the Highlanders last season and is starting to impose himself at provincial level.
But it did not happen overnight. The former Otago Boys' High School pupil took baby steps to start with Otago, before hitting his full stride in the past couple of years.
"I have come a long way. I have put on a bit of size and got more experienced at that higher level, which is awesome," he said
"I have learnt heaps, all the camaraderie and all the skills. All the technical side of things. But the biggest thing I have learnt to know is the things you get outside of rugby which has given me so much. Just the confidence I have got from rugby has made me become a better person.
"When you are playing at a higher level you have got to be more physical and tactically you have got to know your role - as a lineout leader, know the calls and how to manage the lineout and how it goes.
Dickson, who will bring up his half-century of games tonight against North Harbour, said it has all been a bit of a blur.
He made his debut for Otago in 2014, coming on in a loss against Northland.
"I didn't play many games in my first year but I have been very lucky with injuries and I've just kept rolling on.
"Obviously, my debut was pretty cool and the shield. I did not really know I was this close. It is just another game, really."
Dickson was a beanpole to start with but has put on up to 20kg since he left school.
"The thing is in rugby you are never the same weight. You are always up and down. You want to get bigger but it has to be with the right weight. I want to get back to 120kg and I am a wee bit below that.
"You just have to eat. That is all you can do. It is not mad science. Just eating the right thing at the right time. It can be hard. Just about timing it right for what you are doing."
Dickson said that playing games led to a more rounded view of the game.
"When you are a young fella you are so nervous. You just want to get out there and do your own thing - be your best and you do not want to stuff up. But when you get older you are going to stuff up but realise it is how you deal with it ... just making sure you get over it. As a young guy you might dwell on it for a long time."
Dickson (24) was born in Perth and his family moved back to New Zealand when he was 5.
He is loving the life of a professional player.
"It's quite cool. I would rather do this then do a 9-5 job. I would rather come here, enjoy me mates, in the sun, wearing the big yellow. Just run around and chucking the pigskin round."
Mitre 10 Cup
Otago v North Harbour
North Harbour, today, 7.35pm
Otago: Michael Collins (captain), Vilimoni Koroi, Aleki Morris-Lome, Sio
Tomkinson, Henry Purdy, Josh Ioane, Rowan Gouws, Dylan Nel, Slade McDowall,
James Lentjes, Josh Dickson, Joe Latta, Hisa Sasagi, Nic Souchon, Aki Seiuli.
Reserves: Steven Misa, Jonah Aoina, George Bower, Louis Conradie, Mika Mafi,
Connor McLeod, Matt Whaanga, Josh Timu.
North Harbour: Shaun Stevenson, Matt Duffie (co-captain), Fine Inisi, Harrison
Groundwater, Mark Telea, Matt McGahan, Bryn Hall, Murphy Taramai, Dillon Hunt
(co-captain), Ethan Roots, Ben Nee-Nee, Gerard Crowley-Tuioti, Sione Mafileo,
Lutera Tolai, Karl Tuinukeafe. Reserves: David Meki, Lutangi Li, Ropate Rinakama,
Jacob Pierce, Lotu Inisi, Lewis Gjaltema, James Little, Tomas Aoake.
Referee: James Munro (Canterbury).