Waratahs hooker Dave Porecki is excited about the prospect of going up against Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor on Saturday.
The Waratahs will be looking to break their winless streak when they face the Super Rugby Aotearoa champions at WIN Stadium.
Whilst the Waratahs came out victorious in their last match-up in NSW back in 2019, plenty has changed, with both sides at opposite ends of the ladder.
Porecki, who arrived from London Irish in mid-2020, admits the tough period has allowed him to re-elevate his leadership qualities as he gets used to dealing with a youthful squad.
Along with this, he believes he is continuing to refine his skills as he gets used to the free-flowing nature of Super Rugby.
“I think it’s been an opportunity to develop my leadership role within a different environment,” he told media Wednesday.
“In the UK, you’re dealing with a lot of older lads that have been in the professional environment for over ten years but here you are dealing with people coming straight out of school. Learning how to interact and get the best out of them and I see that as an opportunity.
“Especially as a player, when you play in the Southern Hemisphere, you definitely have to be a lot quicker, faster, more athletic than some of the games in the North in blizzards.
“That’s something I’m continuing to grow whilst I’m here in Australia.”
Porecki has witnessed a masterclass of this style throughout Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as he got a first-hand lesson from Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles in Round One.
Before his impending match-up with Taylor, the 28-year-old admits the idea of testing himself against who he considers the best hooker in the world was exciting.
“I was lucky enough to go up against Dane Coles in Round One and just to go against him, he’s been one of the top three hookers in the world over the past five years and equally against Codie, he’s probably the in-form hooker in the world,” he added.
“It’s just an opportunity to see how I go against him at scrum-time, obviously watching him around the field.
“He is the benchmark of the hookers around the world. I don’t think they go for the slow, lumbering hookers anymore, they go for the Codie Taylor-style hookers.
“It’s just an opportunity to play against the best in the world.”
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The pair could once again meet up during the Bledisloe Cup, with Porecki included in Dave Rennie's 40-man squad last month.
However, any thoughts of a gold jersey have been put aside, with the focus solely on getting the Waratahs' first win of 2021.
“It’s obviously up for grabs but I’m pretty old school in my approach. If I start thinking about Wallabies even though it’s only a couple weeks away, you just don’t perform at club level because you start prioritising that, you switch off here,” he believes.
“For us, we are desperate for a win here and that’s the sole thing on my mind as opposed to Wallabies.
“With no disrespect, my mind isn’t on that, it’s on performing for the Waratahs because if you perform for the Waratahs, you put yourself in with a shot and things will happen from that.”