Justin Harrison is ready to step into some big shoes this season - starting in a white-hot west country derby between two of English rugby's fiercest rivals.
Former Australia lock Harrison is about to embark on a Premiership career at the age of 34, with Bristol first up for new club Bath on Sunday.
The European Challenge Cup holders begin life without last season's captain Steve Borthwick, and whose revered second-row partner Danny Grewcock will be another notable absentee.
As Borthwick prepares to pack down for his new club Saracens at Twickenham this weekend, Grewcock faces two months' sidelined recovering from injury, suggesting Harrison can expect an immediate initiation to life at the Premiership's punishing coalface.
But with 34 Test caps and a Super 12 title permanently etched in his rugby CV, the former Ulster forward should not be unduly alarmed.
He said: "I want to carry on playing professional rugby as long as I can, and I want to finish my playing career playing absolutely the best rugby I can possibly expose myself to.
"I could have gone home to Australia and played back there, but when it became clear that Steve Borthwick was leaving Bath, I made contact with Steve Meehan (Bath head coach) to see what the possibilities were.
"I want to go out for Bath and expose myself to risk and competition, with the target of establishing myself as one of the top second-rows in the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup.
"I want to keep testing myself, and I have come to Bath feeling I still have a lot that I want to achieve in the game and something to offer.
"Even though I am coming to the end of my career, I don't want it to peter out into a downward spiral.
"Watching the Premiership from the other side of the world when I was playing Super 12 in Australia, it had been undergoing a steady climb in terms of physicality at the expense of creativity and subtlety.
"But over the last five years the game here has gone the other way, and over the last two seasons or so, the Premiership has produced some of the most exciting rugby being played anywhere in the world.
"The intensity has lifted, and with the sheer professionalism and strength of squads on the up, the coming season's Premiership competition promises to be even more exciting and competitive."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.