Brian O'Driscoll led the British & Irish Lions into New Zealand on Friday and then warned the All Blacks: ''We don't fear you."
The Lions captain smiled, waved and signed autographs as he walked first through the exit door at Auckland airport to be greeted by over a hundred cheering and chanting supporters.
As the squad left for their hotel, with a Lion mascot on the front dashboard, a sole All Blacks supporter performed the haka, laying down the challenge for the weeks that lie ahead.
That challenge will be reinforced on Sunday when the squad heads to Rotorua for a traditional Maori welcome - and it then begins in earnest on June 4 when O'Driscoll is expected to lead the Lions in their tour opener against Bay of Plenty.
Head coach Sir Clive Woodward declared his side are ''ready for the challenge'' and O'Driscoll emphasised the point in emphatic terms.
''I feel a great sense of excitement now we have arrived in New Zealand. New Zealand is one of the great rugby nations and it is a tremendous honour for me to be standing here as captain of a touring British & Irish Lions team,'' said the Irishman.
''I look at some of the players around me and it makes me very proud to lead them. When we take the field everyone understands the passion of New Zealand rugby. We will respect all of our opponents, but we will not fear them.
''We realise if we train well, prepare well and play well, we can win. That's the challenge at hand and it's a challenge we are looking forward to.''
There is still a week before the opening match of the tour and many who watched the Lions stumble to an unconvincing 25-25 draw against Argentina might fear that is not time enough to get everything in shape.
But Woodward has set his sights on a series victory over the All Blacks and echoed O'Driscoll's warning that the Lions will be at their peak come the first Test in Christchurch on June 25.
''I make no apologies for saying I believe this is the best prepared Lions tour in the history of Lions rugby. The squad has the makings of a great Lions Test side,'' said Woodward.
''The players here have been successful but if the British & Irish Lions were to win the Test series in New Zealand it would surpass any achievement any of us have achieved in the past.
''We come here with enormous respect for New Zealand rugby, for the New Zealand players and the New Zealand coaching staff - but we have no fear.
''I believe we can win. We have world class players and the challenge in the coming weeks is to blend them into a world class side.''