Rory Best was celebrating the realisation of a boyhood dream after being named as Ireland's captain for Saturday's Six Nations match against Scotland in Dublin.
The Ulster hooker will lead a team featuring two injury-enforced changes after the 17-17 draw with France, the lock Donnacha Ryan and scrum-half Eoin Reddan replacing Paul O'Connell and Conor Murray. Best has been given the captaincy after O'Connell was ruled out of Ireland's two remaining games with a knee injury.
It is a role the 29-year-old has performed twice before, against Canada and the United States on a 2009 summer tour, but his recognition in the Six Nations holds far greater personal significance. And while Saturday will be a proud day, Best said he will only be able to enjoy the occasion if Scotland are beaten at the Aviva Stadium.
"It's a great honour to captain this side. It's something you dream of doing," said Best, who said that he has made a full recovery from a rib injury sustained against France. "It will be a nice day for the family, but it will only be a good for me if we go out and get a result."
Scotland's captain, Ross Ford, believes a win for his side is essential if the Scots are to retain belief that they are moving in the right direction. Despite valiant performances against England, Wales and France, Scotland are without a win in the championship.
"It's very important for us as a squad to see that the way we're trying to play bears fruit," the hooker said. "We believe that is the case, that we are playing in the right way to win games – it's just about sustaining it for 80 minutes."