It was no trick, but Josh Peters was still left flabbergasted when he found himself transported from watching a movie about magicians into the Hong Kong rugby sevens team with just one telephone call.
"I was watching Now You See Me and had my phone switched off," said Peters yesterday of his shock World Cup call-up. "After it finished, I realised I had a call from Dai [Rees, Hong Kong head coach] and when I called back he told me I was going to Moscow and to pack my bags. I was shocked but happy.
"This is the first time I will be representing the senior team and to be at a World Cup is amazing. It is all like a dream to me," added the scrumhalf after Hong Kong's first training run on a pitch outside the cavernous Luzhniki Stadium, the iconic venue which hosted the 1980 Olympics, and now the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Peters, 20, replaces Cado Lee Ka-to, who aggravated a knock on his knee he got a fortnight ago at the China National Games qualifying tournament in Shanghai. Lee broke down in Hong Kong's final training session before leaving for Moscow. Rees said he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament and will need an operation, which means he will most likely be out of action for six months.
Peters was supposed to go with the junior squad to Malaysia for a tournament, but this was cancelled due to the smog from Indonesia.
Rees had no hesitation in calling up Peters, who has been part of the set-up for the past couple of seasons, having represented the junior team as a schoolboy at Hong Kong International School.
"Josh was the captain of the Hong Kong Under-20 team which won a silver medal [at the Asian Championship] last year and secured a rugby sevens slot at the Sports Institute," Rees said.