Cape Town - As he prepares for a showdown against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Wallaby skipper Stephen Moore recalls his first encounter at the ground.
The hooker's first outing at the Pretoria ground was as a 20-year-old, when he came off the bench for the Reds to make his debut against the Bulls in a Super 12 match in 2003.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Moore says he was so nervous he prayed the ball did not go out.
“I remember not wanting the ball to go out so I didn't have to throw a lineout," Moore recalls.
Moore's first match for the Queensland side didn't end well, with the Bulls running out 39-19 victors.
Moore also remembers facing legendary Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen.
"I was really nervous. They were a powerhouse team. The likes of Joost van der Westhuizen (were playing). He was the halfback and I had watched him play for South Africa.”
This Saturday, Moore will lead Australia against the Boks and he knows what to expect.
"That's (Loftus Versfeld) always a special place for me to play and I think over the years anytime you win a Test in South Africa it's special. You're always up against it. It's a great place to play rugby but as a visiting side you certainly feel that hostility and there's no doubt it will be like that at Loftus on Saturday. We will really enjoy this opportunity."
Moore has won three of the 10 Tests he's played in South Africa. Two victories have come in Durban (2008 and 2011), while the other was in Bloemfontein in 2010 when Kurtley Beale slotted a late 55m penalty goal to hand Australia their first Test win at altitude in 47 years.
The 33-year-old Moore boasts 107 Tests for the Wallabies since making his international debut in 2005.