Qantas Australian Rugby Sevens powerhouse Tom Cusack recalls his Sevens World Series debut with a quiet chuckle to himself.
Then just a fresh-faced 19-year-old, Cusack pulled on an Australian Sevens jersey for the first time at the Wellington Sevens and was immediately struck by the intense rivalry that exists between the Trans-Tasman rivals. "It was a bit of a shock to the system I can tell you that! It was an unreal experience and you can't really prepare yourself."
Now 21, Cusack believes preparations are on course ahead of this weekend's tournament at one of the Sevens World Series' iconic locations. Australia currently sit fourth on the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series standings after a runners-up and a third place finish in the last two tournaments.
"The boys are coming together well. We've done well in the last two tournaments with a couple of consistent performances after a pretty slow start on the Gold Coast. Hopefully we can maintain the standards we set in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
"There's a nice, positive vibe around the squad and we're looking forward at what is to come.
"Our aim, like everyone else I'm sure, is to win the tournament. To beat New Zealand in front of their own fans booing us would be a great feeling. However, we do have a tough pool before we can think about Day Two, there's no doubt about that. Wales are going to be no easier than when we sneaked past them at the Commonwealth Games. Fiji sit second in the World Series and while we have been lucky enough to have the upper hand over them the last couple of tournaments, they are a very, very good side."
"Anyone can beat anyone on their day. We played Portugal in Port Elizabeth and they gave us an early scare and got a few points on the board in the end.
An unfortunate run of injuries has limited Cusack to eight Sevens World Series caps since his debut in 2013. However, Cthe Canberran is raring to go and keen to add to his nine World Series tries - the last coming in the third/fourth place play-off against Argentina in Port Elizabeth in December.
"I'm feeling good, I'm good to go which makes a change for me and looking forward to what the next couple of weeks might bring."
2014/15 HSBC Men's Sevens World Series from Wellington, New Zealand
Day One on 6 February - broadcast on FOX SPORTS 2 from 9.50pm
Australia v Wales, Pool B, 10.42am (AEDT), 6 February
Australia v Portugal, Pool B, 1.36pm (AEDT), 6 February
Australia v Fiji, Pool B, 4.54pm (AEDT), 6 February
Day Two on 7 February - broadcast on FOX SPORTS 2 from 9.50am (AEDT)