Romano locks in on Boks
All Blacks lock Luke Romano is relishing an all-out physical battle in Saturday's Rugby Championship hit-out with South Africa.
Romano was a strong presence in last weekend's tough forward-orientated Test against the Pumas, won 21-5 by New Zealand, and excelled in the line-outs in the Wellington wind.
And now the 26 year old was looking forward to the aerial battle against the Springboks Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
"All their Super (Rugby) teams have got very good line-out forwards. They're big men. Victor (Matfield) and company left them in pretty good shape," he said.
"It's something we're really excited about. We'll try to get on top of them in the line-outs so it should be a good battle.
"It probably does help that you play the Africans and Aussies in Super Rugby and you've got a general idea of their forward methods.
"But the physical side of it doesn't get any easier. They're a big team and their players love confrontation."
The All Blacks rookie has come a long way in a short time. This time last year, he had just completed his first season for the Crusaders, during which he graduated from fourth-ranked lock to one of the regular starters.
His meteoric rise has been the same with the All Blacks and Romano admitted will fulfill a boyhood dream if he plays against South Africa.
"It's right up there in terms of career highlights," he said in reference to his first Test against the Springboks.
"The Aussies are obviously our enemies but the Boks are our traditional opponents and are tough in terms of their attitude and physicality. It's an exciting challenge."
The All Blacks, with 12 points to South Africa's seven, can clinch the inaugural championship if they win in Dunedin.