Having put in the hard yards in the gym and on the training paddock, the Bay of Plenty Volcanix' pre-season efforts will be put to the test against Canterbury tomorrow.
The game, being played at the Tauranga Domain at 11.30am, is part of a double-header with the Bay of Plenty Steamers taking on Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup at the same ground at 2.35pm.
The Volcanix enjoyed success last season, beating Otago in the Championship final to secure promotion to the Premiership.
They are eager to prove they belong there and could not ask for a better test of their credentials than against a Canterbury side who won their maiden premiership title in 2017.
Volcanix head coach Mike Lewis said the team could not wait to get on to the field and the thing that excited him most about this squad of players was their eagerness.
"There's a real eagerness to prove that we're meant to be here, in the Premiership. The players are really buying into that, that's the most exciting thing, seeing how keen and enthusiastic they all are.
"Canterbury are the defending champions, but we haven't really even talked about that. As soon as we won that final in October last year, we knew whatever way the draw came out this year, it was going to be tough.
"There are no easy games so we're just really concentrating on ourselves and getting our own game right."
He expected tomorrow to be a grand occasion.
"It's going to be a really good test and to have it as a double-header with the Steamers is awesome, especially with both sides playing Canterbury. We're really excited about it and hopefully the weather is good and we get a good crowd out there."
Lewis said he could not have asked for a better pre-season.
"We started in January and we're looking forward to putting it on the field. The Game of Three Halves was really good, we had 40 minutes against the best rugby team in the world [the Black Ferns]. That was a good opportunity to prove ourselves and it was really good for a few of the girls who have aspirations of playing at that level to see where they needed to be.
"We had a good 40 minutes against Auckland, who were massive, and we battled around that space a bit - the contact and getting those big girls down. We had 80 minutes last weekend against a similar team to Auckland, Counties Manukau, who had big ball carriers and a big scrum, it was a physical game.
"Coming up to the Premiership, everyone is probably going to be bigger than us, so we've got to deal with that. It's about working through our technique and what we do to combat that."
This year the Volcanix are captained by Rangiuru's Christie Yule, who brings a wealth of experience to the role and is described by Lewis as a player who "leads by example".
"She gets out there and does the work, she never takes a backwards step and she has great rapport with all the players. She's a natural leader of the group, she was our co-captain last year, so she has that experience as well. She's the first pick on the team sheet every weekend.
"We're really, really excited about this weekend, hopefully there's a big crowd cheering us on. We're keen to prove our worth and put it out there on the paddock for all the supporters and the Bay," he said.
Bay of Plenty Volcanix Mitre 10 Farah Palmer Cup Draw
Week 1 v Canterbury at Tauranga Domain, Tauranga – Saturday, September 1, 11.30am
Week 2 v Waikato at Matata Rugby Club – Saturday, September 8, 2.45pm
Week 3 v Manawatu at Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North – Saturday, September 15, 1pm
Week 4 v Taranaki at Rotorua International Stadium – Friday, September 21, 5.05pm
Week 5 v Auckland at Eden Park, Auckland – Friday, September 28, 5.05pm
Week 6 v Counties Manukau at Massey Park, Papakura – Saturday, October 6, 2.30pm
Semifinals: Saturday, October 13
Finals: Saturday, October 20