Australia scrum-half Luke Burgess claims he is ready for the biggest challenge of his short Test career against a New Zealand side he believes is still the world's best.
Following a short and sharp training run on Tuesday, the energetic number nine beamed at every mention of Saturday's clash with the All Blacks - his first since taking over from veteran George Gregan.
Burgess was in the stands at the Sydney Football Stadium in 1994 when a youthful Gregan made his now famous tackle to deny Jeff Wilson a certain try and reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the Wallabies.
But when asked to recall his childhood memories of Bledisloe Cup battles past, the 24-year-old admits some of his idols hailed from across the ditch.
"We used to go to a Thai (restaurant) in Maitland (in Newcastle) and then go home and sit in front of the fire and watch it," Burgess recalled.
"I've got vivid memories of snuggling up to the fire and watching those guys bash each other so I've always wanted to put myself in that situation."
"But yeah I did idolise Byron Kelleher and Justin Marshall, they were fantastic half-backs."
Burgess' admiration extends to the current crop of All Blacks, who he expects will thrive under the Experimental Law Variations being trialled in throughout the Tri Nations tournament.
"Through the Super 14 you could see all the New Zealand teams being excellent exponents of those rules so I don't think it'll be any different this weekend," he said.
"I've always thought that they have the potential to be the world's best, just because they don't win a World Cup doesn't mean they're not the world's best or have the world's best players, so I do think they're actually the best team in the world."
Asked if his Wallabies team-mates still see the Kiwis as their toughest opponent, Burgess said: "I think everyone does hold New Zealand in very high regard purely because of their heritage and their traditions and they've always been fantastic.
"You can never discount the quality of a New Zealand rugby team."