Ospreys wing Hanno Dirksen reveals his Wales ambitions
Ospreys wing Hanno Dirksen has revealed he turned down a chance to play for the USA in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand in his bid to play for Wales.
Dirksen was born in South Africa but as a teenager moved to the USA with his family, playing age-group rugby there.
"They [the USA] asked me to be in the World Cup [squad]," said Dirksen.
The 21-year-old, who played for the USA in an uncapped game against Munster in 2008, qualfies to play for Wales on residency grounds in 2014.
Dirksen, who recently signed a new two-year deal with the Pro12 finalists, has scored eight tries in 24 games and won the RaboDirect Pro12 try of the season award for his score against Edinburgh in the 15-14 win at Murrayfield last February.
Hanno Dirksen The Ospreys wing
“"They (the USA) asked me to be in the World Cup but it would have meant I would have been an international player for the Ospreys and they might not have signed me for another two years,”
"They [the USA] asked me to be in the World Cup but it would have meant I would have been an international player for the Ospreys and they might not have signed me for another two years... you can only have a few per club here," said Dirksen.
"It was an amazing opportunity they gave me but maybe the Ospreys wouldn't have offered me another contract."
Dirksen spent his initial spell in the UK on a student visa, when he played for Swansea RFC and the Ospreys as an amateur, and because of that his residency qualification for Wales started in January 2011.
The wing arrived in Britain to study at Truro College on a scholarship for the 2008-09 academic year before transferring to Neath Port Talbot College in September 2009.
Dirksen hails from Krugersdorp in the Gauteng province of South Africa but after his family moved abroad, he represented the USA at age grade level.
He became the youngest player to represent the Eagles at senior level when he featured in the non-capped match against Munster in Connecticut in August 2008.
Under normal circumstances Dirksen would have qualfied for Wales in September 2012, but he is prepared to wait to stake his claim for the famous red jersey.
"It's only a year and a half away and, hopefully, I can keep playing like I am playing and be in amongst the squad," said Dirksen.
"That would be an amazing achievement for me if they want me. Wales is one of the top teams in the world now.
"The way they are playing is awesome and I watched them against France and to be a part of that would be an amazing achievement
Dirksen has become a key component of the Ospreys side this season and he is relishing the chance to test himself against Leinster in the Pro12 final in Dublin on Sunday.
"Leinster have been European champions three times in four years, so you have to take your hat off to them for achieving that," said Dirksen.
"But it's just another game and we have played them twice already this season and hopefully we can make it three wins."