Leicester's New Zealand-born No 8 Thomas Waldrom is targeting a place in England's Rugby World Cup squad after discovering his grandmother was English.
The 27-year-old joined Leicester last summer and recently spoke of his desire to play for England once he had served out the required 36 months of continued residency.
But Waldrom suddenly realised he may already be qualified after a meeting with his agent — and he woke up his mother in New Zealand to get confirmation.
“In theory, I could play tomorrow if they wanted me. I don't have to wait three years any more,” Waldrom said.
“I would definitely take it if I got the nod for the World Cup in New Zealand.
“My agent came round and he brought the pamphlet with the International Rugby Board's rules regarding qualifying after residency.
“My wife was going through the criteria. She saw the line about being able to qualify immediately if one of your grandparents was born in the respective country.
“I remembered reading somewhere that my grandmother was English. I rang up my mum in New Zealand, where it was four o'clock in the morning.
“I apologised for waking her up and asked if nana was born in England. She said yes, and that she also had the birth certificate to prove it.”