Manchester-raised Pat Sanderson couldn't hide his joy at being selected for England's provisional Commonwealth Games squad in his home city.
The 24-year-old former Bury Grammar and then Kirkham School (near Preston) pupil was today named in Joe Lydon's 14-man squad to take part in the Games from August 2 to 4.
The inclusion of the Chester-born England back row forward follows the original 20-man training squad announced on June 25, and he is now hoping to make the cut in the final 12 on July 24.
Sanderson, 24, who lived in Gorton and played for the Sale Sharks before moving to NEC Harlequins in 1999, said: "This season I have been hit by a few injuries that have hampered me and my main goal was to get in the Commonwealth Games squad and to play in my home city in front of all my friends and family. That would be one of the highlights of my career."
England are currently ranked No 3 in the world and have been working hard under Lydon, the former Great Britain rugby league star now coach of the England Sevens.
"We are definitely the best prepared we have ever been but I am sure there are quite a few teams equally as well prepared and when you are playing against the best in the world it's the tiny things that make the difference," added Sanderson.
Joe Lydon said:"We've had to make some very tough decisions regarding selection and the training and competition for places has been very strong.
"Although not included in the 14 man squad, Michael Horak (London Irish), Russell Earnshaw (Rotherham), Neil Baxter (Salford Reds), Michael Stephenson (Newcastle Falcons), Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers) and Jamie Noon (Newcastle Falcons) remain in contention for the two travelling and two non-travelling reserve team places.
"We will be moving to our training base at Mottram Hall in Cheshire the weekend after next before entering the Commonwealth Games village on July 31st.
"The other nations taking part in the Commonwealth Games are obviously strengthening their sides for the three day tournament and it's essential that we do everything we can to prepare for what will be a very demanding but hopefully rewarding games."
ENGLAND SEVENS 14 MAN SQUAD
Simon Amor (Gloucester)
Geoff Appleford (London Irish)
Nick Duncombe (NEC Harlequins)
Ben Gollings (NEC Harlequins)
Phil Greening (London Wasps)
Richard Haughton (Saracens)
Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)
Henry Paul (Gloucester)
Tony Roques (Saracens)
Paul Sampson (London Wasps)
Pat Sanderson (NEC Harlequins)
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester)
Marcus St. Hilaire (Leeds Rhinos)
Rob Thirlby (Bath)