Danny Care will become England's most capped scrum half on Saturday when he steps onto the field against Wales at Twickenham in the NatWest 6 Nations.
Care, who has earned 77 Test caps in a 10-year international career, will surpass the achievement set by former half back Matt Dawson in the Anglo-Welsh clash, but is quick to detach his personal milestone from the game.
“It will be a massive honour to overtake Matt who was a hero of mine growing up,” said the Harlequin.
“He was someone I looked up to and aspired to be like one day; I loved the way he played the game. To overtake him will be brilliant, but this weekend isn’t about me, it’s about England hopefully beating Wales.”
The 31-year-old made his Test debut against New Zealand in 2008, coming off the bench to replace Richard Wigglesworth - a man recently recalled to the England squad in place of the injured Ben Youngs.
And although the roles they played in Auckland that day have been reversed, something remains unchanged for Care a decade on: his self-belief, and undeniable love for the game.
“The main motto throughout my career has been ‘enjoy it’,” he said.
“Just back yourself; the first decision that comes into your head is probably the right one. I’m going to go out there with a smile on my face and be a leader for the team.”
A massive game
England began their NatWest 6 Nations title defence last weekend with a bonus point 46-15 win over Italy in Rome, whilst Wales stunned Scotland 34-7 in Cardiff, and Care is excited by their meet in round two.
“It is a massive game any time we play against Wales in the Six Nations; it is the one you get up for, the one you think about all season. We have prepared well and we are excited to go,” he said.
“I can speak for the whole team when I say we are excited to get back to our turf and rip into what is going to be a huge game.”
Wales showed attacking flair in round one of the championship, and Care admits England must lift their intensity in defence to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen at Twickenham.
A veteran of this fixture in particular - Saturday also marks Care’s tenth meet with Wales - and no matter the game’s significance, the expectation is always high.
“Every time you put on a number nine shirt there is pressure on you to perform and manage a game, especially England v Wales at Twickenham,” he added. "I have a slightly better hair cut..."
“Hopefully it’s going to be a special day for me and my family, but we need the performance to make it special.”
It has been some journey for Care, who wishes for another 78 caps, but what has really changed from the fresh-faced 21-year-old who made his debut against the All Blacks, to the experienced campaigner we know today?
“I have a slightly better haircut, I’m a bit wiser, not as rash, been part of big games and experienced highs and lows which has moulded me into the player I am now,” he added.
“I feel well-equipped to go out there and do my thing on Saturday.”