He may not have the game time under his belt but Tauranga referee Bryce Lawrence has been going to special lengths to ensure he's fit for his first Super 12 match.
Lawrence is controlling the Chiefs-Crusaders match in Christchurch tonight, his first time blowing the whistle at that level after a season running touch last year.
His elevation comes with New Zealand's leading referee, Paddy O'Brien, heading to London to control the Northern Hemisphere-Southern Hemisphere Tsunami charity match.
Lawrence has only had 40mins of the Chiefs-Hurricanes preseason match as preparation but has been pounding the pavement with personal trainer Shane Kaio to get up to Super 12 speed.
"I've been trying to grunt it out for the last few weeks but I'm going in quite underprepared game-wise because I've only had 40 minutes," Lawrence said.
"That will be half the challenge - just adjusting to everything that's happening."
An ankle injury suffered trying to keep up with several running mates also curtailed his preparation but he's shaken those lingering effects.
Lawrence has refereed 56 first-class games so far, controlling his first NPC division one game in 2001. Since then, the son of former international whistle-blower Keith has steadily climbed the ladder, cracking the full-time ranks two years ago.
Lawrence is confident nerves won't bother him tonight, however - though he is expecting a lot more action than he's used to.
"The jump to first division rugby is quite big from division two so it's been nice to have a bit of time to get used to that. This will be another step up again but maybe not as big as that jump from division two to division one.
"They talk about a slight increase in skill level and also a slight increase in speed at Super 12 level, especially at the breakdown. Things are happening just a fraction of a second quicker."
Sanzar regulations usually allow only five referees from each country to control Super 12 matches but O'Brien's absence has given Lawrence an opportunity he's keen to make the most of.
"It's a matter of getting the big decisions or important calls right and minimising any big errors. It might be the only chance I get this year so I want to make the most of it."
Making his job infinitely easier - or infinitely trickier depending on how the game pans out - is the presence of two of the best openside flankers in the world at the breakdown tonight.
The much-awaited clash between Chiefs flanker Marty Holah and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw should be a cracker.