New Zealand lock Anthony Boric is looking forward to testing himself against arguably the world's foremost second-row pairing when he makes his first start against South Africa on Saturday.
Boric has been called into coach Graham Henry's starting XV following Brad Thorn's one-week suspension for his tackle on John Smit during the All Blacks' 19-8 win against the Springboks to open their Tri-Nations campaign last weekend.
Thorn's absence is a blow for the All Blacks as his partnership with Ali Williams helped to dim the influence of the Springboks' much-vaunted lock pairing of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.
Boric would, however, seem a capable replacement for Thorn after finishing the Super 14 season with a string of impressive performances with the Blues.
Those displays were sufficient to earn his inclusion in the All Blacks' squad for the Tri-Nations and now the 24-year-old can't wait to make his first run-on start.
"It's pretty exciting, a great chance to test myself against two of the best locks and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.
"It feels a bit different being involved in the starting lineup as the week builds up and going through all the plays."
Boric rooms with Thorn on tour and he said he had spoken to the 33-year-old to garner some inside knowledge ahead of this weekend's match at Carisbrook.
"He's got a lot of experience and has a lot to offer so he's been really good so far," he said.
"His main advice had been to build it up quietly during the week and peak on Saturday. That's the goal I suppose, not to waste too much nervous energy."