Dickinson relishing All Blacks test
PA Sport
September 22, 2007

Alasdair Dickinson has known since Tuesday that he will make his international debut against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday - but the Dundee-born prop admits it has not sunk in yet.

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the 24-year-old, who was only drafted into Scotland's World Cup squad after Allan Jacobsen tore his left calf muscle against Portugal on the opening weekend of the tournament.

``I don't think it has properly hit me yet how big a thing this is,'' he said. ``It just seems a little bit surreal.

``When I was at school and I was daydreaming in a boring maths class, I was think about playing at Murrayfield against the best side in the world, and it just sort of happened within a couple of weeks.

``Everyone was together when the team was announced. It was just after the Romania game in the changing rooms at Murrayfield. I was just so excited I couldn't keep the smile off my face.

``I didn't phone anyone for a while because I wasn't too sure if I was dreaming or not, but I eventually phoned my dad.

``I've never been in this situation before so I didn't really know what to expect. Obviously when you are brought in you are hoping to play but I wasn't expecting anything.

``I knew that all I could do was keep training and take each day as it comes, so that was what I was trying to do.''

As baptisms of fire go, the challenge facing Dickinson on Sunday must be pretty near the top end of the scale. New Zealand are the top-ranked team in the world and have been in devastating form in the tournament so far.

Furthermore, Dickinson is going to have to pack down against Carl Hayman - probably the best tight-head prop in the world at the moment.

To his credit, Dickinson is making a pretty decent fist of putting on a brave face ahead of what looks certain to be the biggest challenge of his rugby career to date. He did, however, concede that he is not entirely sure of what he is going to encounter.

He said: ``It is a massive test, and I'm really excited about gauging myself against him. To better yourself you've got to play against the best players, so I'm looking forward to it.

``It's hard to tell what you are going to do before you go into a scrum. You have to be there and experience it in the moment. We've been working hard on our technique and we've just got to do what we've practised.

``I've spoken to the senior guys about what to expect. I've been rooming with Scott Murray and he said to just go out there and give it my all because I've got nothing to lose.''

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