Eric O'Sullivan very much fits into the 'late developer' category, but as he continues on his quest to make up for lost time, the Dubliner has been determined not to stand still.
he 25-year-old has quickly become a key part of the Ulster scrum and his fine form was duly rewarded when he made his Ireland debut in last year's Autumn Nations Cup win over Scotland.
By his own admission, however, it hasn't all been plain sailing since that milestone moment in his career.
Players will always be their own worst critics and in O'Sullivan's case, he hasn't been happy with his form since winning his one and only international cap.
“It's been a good year, getting my cap was a wonderful achievement for me. It's something I've wanted for so long,” the loosehead said.
“Off the back of it I think my performances haven't been where I'd expect them to be myself.
“I have high standards for myself and I'm probably not hitting where I want to be. It's been a good year but if I want more of that I need to be playing to a level that's going to get me back there.
“For me it just comes down to going back to what you perceive as your strengths and doing them well.
“So for me, I would consider my work-rate to be one of my strengths, that's something that I can fall back on but as a front-row, your set-piece is massive.
“That's something I need to focus on. It's just having the confidence to go 'You are a good player, you deserve to be here' and then go back to what you know, perform in that and then the rest all feeds into it. It's like that expression you make your own luck, it's the same with hard work, you play better when you're putting the effort in.
“You get capped and you want to be getting back there. You want to be at a level where it's not up for debate, where you just have to be picked.”
O'Sullivan will be key to Ulster's chances of advancing to the Challenge Cup semi-final when the northern province take on Northampton at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow evening.
The Templeogue man, who made his way in the All-Ireland League with Trinity and later Banbridge, is proud of his roots, as he is another example of how the road less travelled can still lead to the international stage.
“I got so many text messages around that time and everyone was so happy for me, to see me get there,” O'Sullivan added.
“I've always been ambitious and people knew that so for me to get that, people took a lot of pride in that as well, those who had helped along the way.
“We don't produce many in Templeogue, so it's nice to get that and hopefully that can be a bit of a spark to develop that within the school a bit more.”