SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Before Ben Barba went on to be an Australian rugby grand finalist and a medal holder, he was working nine-hour days earning $13 an hour at a carwash in Yagoona, just outside of Sydney, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The Sept. 30 story stated that Barba had a successful run as a youth rugby player, but he could never make his way onto the Canterbury Bulldogs, a national “first-grade” team. The manager wanted to let him go before Barba even had the chance to play, but others convinced him to be patient.

I’m always ready for some football

Barba went on to become one of the most successful rugby players in Australia’s history this season, setting unprecedented records and scores that have never been seen before. He was crowned player of the year by the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Barba says his lifelong struggles and challenges make his success that much sweeter.

The owner of the carwash Barba worked for recalled that he was always dedicated, but had it hard. “We all knew he would go from rags to riches.”

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