MATT STEVENS could hardly have asked for a tougher RBS Six Nations baptism - filling the boots of an England legend at Twickenham.
The world champions play their first post-World Cup Test on home soil this weekend, when Ireland come calling.
But there will be no Jason Leonard in the England ranks after red rose supremo Sir Clive Woodward preferred Bath rookie Stevens to a player with 114 caps and 14 years of international experience.
While the England camp have spent all week playing down suggestions that Leonard's remarkable odyssey could be at an end, Stevens - all 19 stones of him - represents life after the veteran Harlequins loosehead.
Stevens, a British pass-port holder who was born in South Africa, has already shown a Twickenham full house what he can do.
After being drafted into the England side for last December's non-cap World Cup celebration match against the New Zealand Barbarians when Phil Vickery withdrew injured, he scored a try and performed like a veteran.
"The New Zealand Barbarians game was an incredible experience. There was so much euphoria after the World Cup, but there was also a huge feeling in the squad to carry on and improve," he said. "The Six Nations is such a high level of rugby, and it is going to be a huge challenge for me."