All Black 'rookie' Jarrad Hoeata has promised to 'play his own game' when he makes his debut for New Zealand against Fiji in Dunedin on Friday.
The 27-year-old Hoeata, who will team up with the recalled 30-year-old veteran (61 Tests) Ali Williams in the second row, has promised to be as "uncompromising" as he was throughout the Super Rugby season.
Hoeata, who stands 1.98-metres tall and weighs in at 112kg, got a clear message from the All Black coaches this week - they want to see more of the high-energy, physically and abrasive game that earned him his call-up for national honours.
“They said: 'You got picked for the way you played for the Highlanders'. They just want more of the same," Hoeata told a media scrum in Dunedin.
"So, just that aggressive physicality I try to bring to the game and try to lead from the front in that area.”
The lock forward added that he will look to make the most of his Test opportunity and just play his own game.
“You almost have to try and dump all that stuff [the hype of a first Test] and go out and play like you usually would," he said, adding: "Otherwise you probably get too caught up in the moment.”
For all that, Hoeata admitted the “moment” would be something to savour after an All Black dream he regarded as a long-term goal at the start of Super Rugby got fast-tracked via some standout displays for Jamie Joseph's team.
“It's pretty special for the first cap to get a start, but I think with the coaches wanting to rest those Crusaders boys that's meant there was me and Ali left as locks. It's going to be pretty awesome to get out there and do my best.
"That it was on my home ground would make it even better", Hoeata added.
“It will be awesome running out there in front of Highlanders fans and All Black fans, and my parents are coming down as well so that will be special.”
Graham Henry said Hoeata had been on their radar for a while now and his outstanding displays through a strong first half of the season for the Highlanders had confirmed his readiness.
“He's a good all-purpose player,” added Henry.
“He's good at the set piece, strong round the field, he's got a physical edge to him and a high workrate.”
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.