All Blacks golden boy Dan Carter has predicted an intense battle for Test series glory against Sir Clive Woodward's British & Irish Lions.
The Canterbury fly-half will face the Lions on his home ground this weekend, and is not expecting an easy time.
"It is going to be probably the biggest challenge the All Blacks have faced," he said.
"We are coming up against an extremely strong side and we will just go out there and try and play how we want to play, and if we do that well, then hopefully the results will take care of themselves.
"It is going to be tough. You can't sit there and see how they've played over the past few years - you can only really look at the games they have played on tour, and even then, you can't take too much from those.
"It is going to be huge, right up there with the biggest games I've been part of. It (a Lions tour) only happens once in your career, if you are lucky, so I am really excited about the opportunity ahead."
Carter, a deadly goalkicker in the Jonny Wilkinson mould, has taken less than two years to establish himself as one of world rugby's hottest properties - on and off the field.
The 23-year-old said of his potential opposite number: "I am not sure where he will play.
"We will have to wait and see, but everyone knows what he can do in defence and attack - he's a strong guy who loves the confrontation."
He added: "Our main focus is on us. Training is about what we want to do and what we want to get out of the game.
"We would have liked longer together, but the way it has worked out, we haven't had a chance with the Super 12 going along. But the time we've had together - three or four weeks now - we've covered a lot.
"I think the Lions have made big steps. It is always going to be tough, with changing players for each game, but there has been an improvement in the way they've played."
New Zealand served notice of their breathtaking ability by memorably smashing France 45-6 in Paris last November, a result that sent shockwaves reverberating around world rugby.
But Carter insisted: "I think we will have to step up another level from what we did against the French if we are going to come out (on top) this weekend.
"You want to get the first one under the belt. Both sides see it as very important to come out with a win.
"Personally, I would just be happy with a win. I don't really care how we do it, just as long as we come out with the victory.
"We will try and get all the boys involved nice and early, so they can get their hands on the ball.
"It will be huge on Saturday. They love their rugby in Christchurch, and I am really looking forward to it - I just can't wait."