WALES' South African-born wing Hal Luscombe last night revealed the part Springboks' coach Jake White played in his move to Wales.
And he also told how White later tried to persuade him to switch his allegiance back to the land of his birth.
Luscombe, who is hoping to be selected for what would be an emotional encounter with the Springboks in Pretoria on Saturday, was first approached to come to Wales by former national coach Graham Henry - on the recommendation of White.
"Wales had scouts at an inter-provincial tournament I was playing at back in 1999 and I was led to believe that one of the scouts was actually Jake White," said the 23-year-old.
"He knew Graham Henry and he thought that I was a prospect. It was after that tournament that I had an offer to go and play in Wales."
Luscombe was one of five young players who Henry wanted to bring over with a view to them qualifying for Wales on residency.
But the controversial scheme was ditched at the last minute because of a public outcry.
"Literally a week before we were supposed to come out, the press got to hear about it," said Luscombe.
"The Welsh public weren't happy about it and Graham was put under a lot of pressure from the Welsh media, so he had to withdraw his offer."
That left Luscombe - who had turned down a development contract with Western Province to take up the Welsh opportunity - in limbo, with nowhere to go.
It was then that Newport benefactor Tony Brown came to the rescue, offering him a chance with the Black and Ambers.
"He gave me a job at his factory in Wales," said Luscombe. "I was lifting steel cabinets for eight hours a day. It was really hard work."
On the field, Luscombe's strong running caught the eye at Wales Under-21 level - so much so that White tried to lure him back to the South African cause.
"He enquired about me a couple times through my agent, looking for me to come and play for the South African Under-21s, who he was coaching at the time," he said.
"But, at the stage, I really saw my future with Wales."
And, as he looks forward to Saturday's showdown with land of his birth at Loftus Versfeld, the three-times capped Luscombe has no regrets about that decision and no doubts over his allegiance.
"I am a fully-fledged Welshman," he said. "I have settled down in Wales, I have made a home for myself there, I have got a family there and I feel Welsh."
Luscombe, who was raised on a sheep farm, was educated at Bishop's School in Cape Town, which coincidentally is where Wales are training this week.
"It's really surreal to be back at my old school and it will be very emotional for me if I'm selected to play against South Africa," he said.
The Dragons' back suffered thumb ligament damage in last Saturday's victory over Argentina but is expected to be fit to face the Springboks, along with centre Sonny Parker (hand), while No 8 Michael Owen (back) is the main injury doubt.