Today will be a special moment in the All Blacks career of full-back Mils Muliaina as he lines out against Ireland at his home ground of the Waikato Stadium.
The 25-year-old, who is coming off the back of his first season with the Waikato Chiefs, is primed for a special performance, especially with the World Cup on the horizon and the battle for starting places heating up.
His duel with Leon MacDonald for the New Zealand number 15 shirt will be a fascinating one over the coming months. MacDonald is down to play against Argentina on June 24.
Despite the pressure that comes with maintaining a run in the All Blacks side, Muliaina is looking forward to locking horns with Ireland, and especially team captain Brian O'Driscoll.
He said: "Brian O'Driscoll is a dangerous player, not only on offence, but defence.
"I haven't played against him before but he is definitely a world class player. He wasn't playing last time we played the Irish (in November) but he's definitely someone we've got to keep our eye on because he can break from anywhere and can score points with dropped goals as well.
"Ireland's style of play is to really attack so if we can shut them down there and stop their attack that would be good for us."
Admitting that the All Blacks "are up for a big performance" in their first outing of 2006, Muliaina reckons the Irish "will be a lot harder to beat than last time."
"The way they beat England, being three points down with only a couple of minutes left and running the ball from the 22 and scoring - that shows you what they're capable of.
"They've changed their game a bit - they do a lot more attacking. They've O'Driscoll and (Paul) O'Connell, they're two world class players and sometimes that can make a difference," he told Newstalk ZB.
"We hurt the Irish the last time (winning 45-7) so we know how difficult it's going to be over the next two games."