They may be the top point scorers after two rounds of the Mitre 10 Cup competition but the Bay of Plenty Steamers feel no pressure as they prepare to test themselves against the best this weekend.
In fact, head coach Clayton McMillan believes the pressure all lies with their round three opposition. Tomorrow, Bay of Plenty head to Auckland's Eden Park to take on Auckland - the defending premiership champions on their home turf.
"You always want to test yourself against the best and we get a chance to do that this week so, yeah, looking forward to it," McMillan says.
"To go up to Auckland to play them in their own backyard, they're play-over champions so we don't feel like we've got any target on our back or we don't feel like there's any pressure, it's probably all on them," he says.
McMillan says they had been trying to fly under the radar this season but with their results in the first two weeks of competition, it hasn't been possible.
Bay of Plenty are unbeaten so far in their 2019 campaign, scoring 90 points and conceding just 21 in opening round matches against Otago and Waikato, collecting the top 10 competition points.
Auckland have a win and a draw under their belt, with a 28-all score against North Harbour in round one and a 43-10 win over Northland, and sit on eight competition points.
It's been a light week for Bay of Plenty this week but their game plan is simple - they're seeking continuity.
"If we allow them to win the collisions and we concede cheap metres up front, they have some pretty dangerous centres and outside backs that will run amok if given the opportunity. So we will need to be at our dogged best.
"We're pretty happy with most aspects of our game, we've done pretty well at set piece and our defence has been strong, we've been prepared to throw the ball around and we've scored some tries and we don't see that changing at all this week.
Battle in Chiefs country: Bay face Waikato
Bay of Plenty vs Otago expected to be tough battle
Tauranga Boys' product ready to make mark with Steamers
"Hopefully the boys are fresh and certainly excited by the challenge, not daunted by going up there and playing the defending premiership champions."
They've a few movements on the starting line-up from the previous week but McMillan is feeling confident. The strong 23-man squad to play Auckland includes the same front row of Aidan Ross, Nathan Harris and Jeff Thwaites that annihilated Otago 50-7 in round one.
"It's a short season but it can feel long at times particularly when injuries hit so we really need to be mindful that we need to sometimes rest players, sometimes remove them from a starting position to the bench and from the bench to the start. It's a bit of a balancing act but for the most part we try to keep the majority of the starting 15 out on the park."
Auckland head coach Alama Ieremia says their season hasn't started as strongly as it could have, taking their draw as a loss and working on their defence since that first round.
This weekend they have All Blacks Rieko Ioane and Dalton Papalii helping them out but Ieremia is expecting a tough challenge from Bay of Plenty.
"It's always good to get the All Blacks back in but we definitely know that everyone, including the All Blacks will have to be, you know, on their top form to actually get any result against Bay of Plenty," Ieremia says.
"We definitely know that we're up for obviously tough competition and every game is going to be tough for us this year," Ieremia says.
As defending champs, Ieremia says they have to treat each game as a final.
"Every game is going to be our final because everyone's coming for us but we understand that and we have to make sure we understand that expectation.
"That comes with the territory now you know from last year but as far as I'm concerned we're all the same again now, we have to try and win it again.
At stake on Saturday will be the John Drake Boot, an trophy named after former All Blacks and Auckland prop Drake who passed away suddenly in December 2008.
Bay of Plenty Steamers:
Aidan Ross (Captain), Nathan Harris, Jeff Thwaites, Aaron Carroll, Alex Ainley, Hugh Blake, Mitch Karpik, Abraham Papali'i, Richard Judd, Jason Robertson, Pryor Collier, Dan Hollinshead, Mathew Skipwith-Garland, Emoni Narawa, Chase Tiatia.
Kurt Eklund, Tom McHugh, Tevita Mafileo, Baden Wardlaw, Ajay Mua, Leroy Carter, Lalomilo Lalomilo, Joe Ravouvou.
What: Bay of Plenty Steamers v Auckland
When: Saturday, August 24
Where: Eden Park, Auckland
Time: Kick-off 5.05pm