Todd Clever finally got on the field for NTT last weekend, played 20 minutes, turned the game around, and scored the winning try.
He was named man of the match, and was singled out by many for his contribution, including captain Hiraku Tomoigawa.
For Clever, it was just another day at the office.
"It's good to get back in action with NTT," said the USA captain. "I came back with a very minor injury that I picked up in the pre-season. The excellent USA Rugby Staff was able to get me in good enough condition to play in the qualifiers. When returning NTT wanted me to rest to get me back to 100 percent. I really wanted to play in the season opener against Suntory but I saw where they were coming from."
In addition, Clever is fighting for playing time as the Shining Arcs have signed on New Zealand Isaac Ross (eight All Black caps) and Jason Eaton (15 caps for All Blacks) at lock, making it difficult to fit all the foreign players in the lineup.
"It's going to be interesting how they use us," said Clever. "It's going to make us have to work even harder to get the playing time, Which I am totally fine with."
Clever came on as a No. 8 Sunday for the Arcs, but he will likely be moved around.
"I would like to play 6," he said. "I think it's my best position right now. I haven't played too much there but think I can offer more there than any other position. At the end of the day, I don't care If I have a 4, 6, 8 or 11 on my back, I just want to play rugby and get stuck in."
Clever has actually played all over - lock and all three back row positions. In addition, when he played for the Lions in Super Rugby, he was a wing after the team was decimated by injuries in the backs.
Things are a little different for the Shining Arcs in the Japan Top League, but there's plenty at stake. Clever scored the winning try in the team's final game last year, thus ensuring they had their first winning record in the top competition. That was a big step forward for the club. Now they want more.
"We haven't had the ideal start to the season - 1-2 now," said Clever. "In our last game we did play a bit more rugby, which I was happy to see and be a part of. It definitely suits my style rather than lots of kicking, which we did a lot of the first two games."