Cardiff Blues teenager Leigh Halfpenny has been ordered by Wales coach Warren Gatland to go out and 'enjoy' going head to head with the world's most dangerous winger, Brian Habana, on Saturday in the opening fixture of the Invesco Perpetual series against South Africa.
Halfpenny's rise to the top has been nearly as rapid as his strike rate this season - with just seven games behind him the Blues winger has forced his way into the Wales side to become the 60th teenager to represent Wales.
With Mark Jones picking up an injury, Gatland's bold approach has seen him select rookie Halfpenny ahead of his regional team mate Tom Shanklin.
"We could have gone the conservative route and picked Tom Shanklin but Leigh has come on the scene and is scoring tries and that's what wingers are paid to do. He has been playing some great rugby and I'm sure he will do the jersey justice," explained Gatland.
"At 19 years-old, our message to Leigh has been to just go out there and enjoy himself. He needs to play without fear and enjoy the experience. The last thing he needs from us is to start talking too much about Bryan Habana, because he could get more worked up and nervous. He needs to go out there and really enjoy the occasion. The message to him will be to have some fun."
A beaming Halfpenny admitted that he has surprised himself by making such rapid strides in such a short space of time.
"It is a dream come true to play for your country," he said. "I am very excited about the challenge ahead. Everyone knows how great a player Bryan Habana is, but I've been told to go out, enjoy it and not worry about the opposition.
"I've surprised myself. I played in the Under-20 World Cup during the summer and was thinking I would try and get some games for the Blues on the wing this season. But it is unreal what has happened to me. At times I have got to pinch myself. To do it at 19 is absolutely fantastic. I am sure I will have some butterflies before the game, and my heart will be racing when I hear the roar of the fans, but it is a terrific moment for me and my family."
After starring for Wales in the Junior World Championship earlier this year, Halfpenny, who is at home at either wing or full-back, set himself the target of reaching full international status by the time he was 22 or 23. So it comes as a bit of a shock to realize it as come sooner than expected.
"When the team was read out it took a while because they started from prop but I'm really surprised that I've managed to make it while still a teenager. I'm joining some pretty famous names and I'm honoured to be among the likes of Gareth Edwards."
Gatland has no doubt Halfpenny will be able to handle everything that will be thrown at him by the Springboks.
"A few months ago he was in the Under-20s looking up to these guys, thinking it might be a number of years before he got there, but now he will be running out on the field with them," he said.
"The great thing about Leigh is that he's a wing who has been scoring tries. He should go into the game with nothing to fear."
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