Cape Town - New Zealand openside flank Matt Todd has admitted that he was surprised to be recalled to the All Blacks squad for their end-of-year tour.
Todd, who currently plays for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League, was granted a special dispensation by New Zealand Rugby (NZR), because he is contracted to the NZR and Crusaders for 2019.
The NZR doesn't usually allow the All Blacks to select overseas-based players, but Todd earned a call-up after Sam Cane's season ended with a fractured neck sustained in the Test against the Springboks in Pretoria earlier this month.
Todd has been named on the bench as back-up to Ardie Savea for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test with Australia in Yokohama.
Tohe 30-year-old is excited to be back in the All Blacks squad.
"It's good to be back, I guess a little bit surprising," said Todd.
"I was over here enjoying on my footy and enjoying the Japanese lifestyle, but I guess the situation arose and I got the okay, and it's great to be back in camp.
"I thought when I came up here it just wasn't an option to come back. A little bit of a surprise when my agent rung me about it and when it got the green light, but a pleasant surprise all the same time.
"It's nice that when I came over here, I wasn't completely forgotten about. I guess there was an injury to Sam, with the circumstances that arose, and it worked out this way."
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio
Substiitutes (one to be omitted): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Sekope Kepu,18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Tom Banks