'I'm going to cry' – All Blacks star reveals turbulent recall

Kimberlee Downs
Source: 1News

When the All Blacks squad was announced last month there was one name Caleb Clarke missed – his own.

It sparked a roller coaster of emotions for the winger, which he revealed when speaking to 1News in Auckland, as the All Blacks first gathered two weeks ago.

"In the Blues meeting room, we’d always cheer on every Blues players that got called out," Clarke explained.

"So before me was Finlay [Christie], and when they called his name we were all cheering."

Caleb Clarke and Finlay Christie celebrate after a Blues try.

Clarke's own name did follow but he didn't hear it as it was drowned out by his teammates' ongoing celebrations for their halfback, leading to an emotional moment for the winger.

“I’m sitting in the corner like, 'oh, I didn’t make it'."

Eventually he was shown a hard copy of the list and to both his surprise and relief, it was complete with his name right there after Christie's.

“I’m reading it like, 'I made it, I made it!' and Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] is next to me like, 'oh gee, you made it,' and he hugged me and I’m like, 'get off me, I’m gonna cry'!" he said, laughing.

Caleb Clarke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Of course, that was two weeks ago.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since, with a win and historic loss to Ireland over the past fortnight, leading to this weekend’s highly-anticipated series decider in Wellington in front of a sold out Cake Tin crowd.

Clarke has yet to take part in the series with his return to the black jersey hindered by a lingering hamstring issue - a problem which also ended his Super Rugby season early as he was forced to watch the playoffs, and his team's loss to the Crusaders in the final, from the sidelines.

"It played a little with my mind because I wanted to push it, but then I don’t want to get injured again," he said.

That, combined with his ill-fated Sevens hiatus last year, means Clarke hasn’t pulled on the All Blacks jersey since November 2020.

He might be at risk of crying again when he finally does.