Simon Webster insists he is comfortable with the prospect of going up against Brian O'Driscoll when he takes on the role of outside centre in Scotland's RBS 6 Nations clash against Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday.
The 26-year-old has played the vast majority of his senior rugby on the wing, but during the last two years he has appeared intermittently at outside centre, mainly because of a lack of alternatives in that problem area for Scotland.
Nick De Luca is still seen by the Scotland management as the best long-term option at outside centre, but the Edinburgh youngster has struggled for form during this Six Nations, and has been dropped to the bench for the trip to Dublin.
The only other times Webster has started an international match at outside centre was against Romania, Italy and Argentina during last year’s Rugby World Cup, and he is going to have to get back up to speed fairly quickly when he reprises that role as he is going head-to-head with O’Driscoll, probably the best player in that position in the world.
“Brian is very good but we know that and we know how he plays – we’ve seen him in the Magners League and he has played for Ireland against Scotland plenty of times – so we have a few ideas about to handle him.
“Rugby is all about challenges and the big challenge for me this weekend is to try and keep on top of him, and also create a few problems of my own for him to deal with.”
Despite his lack of experience at outside centre, Webster is confident he can slot in without too many problems.
“It’s just about getting your head around the little differences,” he said.
“On the wing you are either on the openside or the blindside but you are still tracking up and down the same touchline, whereas in the centre it is a bit different – you have to read the game a bit differently and pay a bit more attention to what is going on around you.
“I will be doing the same sort of things as I am expected to do out on the wing, but maybe just approaching the challenges in a slightly different way.
“For example, the tackles are more likely to be head on rather than sliding and I am going to be involved in backs moves more as a handler rather than a runner.
“But at the end of the day, we are all rugby players, so it is just a slightly different emphasis rather than trying to do something completely new.
“The whole week leading up to any game is about setting things up so that you are comfortable about what you are trying to do when you go out on to the field, and in this instance we’ve had two weeks working together with me in the centre so I can honestly say that I think I’m on top of it. I’m just looking forward to playing.”