Shane Williams will report for British and Irish Lions duty tomorrow, admitting: "I can't wait for the tour to begin."
Ian McGeechan’s class of 2009 fly to South Africa next Sunday evening, but immediate Lions business is about seven days of preparation and bonding at the leafy Surrey training base used by Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 World Cup-winning England squad.
Wales wing wizard Williams is ready to make a mark on what he admits will be his last Lions tour.
Williams, 2008 International Rugby Board world player of the year, possesses match-winning qualities the Lions will require in abundance against their world champion hosts.
While the current season has not seen him at his box-office best, the Springboks will not need reminding that form is temporary but class is permanent.
A Wales record 46 tries in 65 Tests screams Williams’ ability from the roof-tops, and his sense of anticipation is almost tangible.
“The expectation has been building for a long time,” he said. “I can’t wait for the tour to begin now.
“I am just glad it is actually here. We’ve been talking about it for more than 12 months, and now we are about to meet up and get down to the hard work.
“There is very little time before our first game, but we are all professional rugby players and the majority of the boys have played alongside each other before.
“It only takes a week to get all the calls and patterns together, and then it is up to you individually to organise yourself for games and training sessions.
“We are big lads, we know we have got to work hard in the short space of time we’ve got in order to achieve something out of this tour. It’s difficult, but that is what these Lions tours are about.”
Williams’ final preparations have included specifically-designed training to simulate the effects of altitude awaiting the Lions in South Africa, and one of his favourite off-pitch pastimes - boxing.
“We have been doing some altitude-type training, really burning the lungs and training as hard as possible before going out there,” Williams said.
“When you first get into high altitude you find you lose your breath far quicker, and you do struggle with the conditions at first - that’s why you train and prepare for it.
“You don’t really feel the effects until you play your first game. It is demanding, but you get into it quite quickly. And the boxing has always been something I’ve brought into my training.
“I used to box quite a lot when I was younger - I had a couple of fights and did a fair bit of sparring. It really fits in with my training.”