David Pocock knows all about living on the edge, so grappling with David Wallace and company on the Croke Park turf will hold no fears for Australia's new openside sensation.
As a teenager enduring the fraught existence on a family farm in an area under attack during Zimbabwe's chaotic era of land re-distribution seven years ago, the then 14-year-old used to sleep with a gun under his bed.
As well as farming cash crops, the Pococks were in the business of exporting flowers until the anarchic disintegration of Zimbabwe as a political entity forced them to flee their homeland.
In essence, they had to flee to save their lives. Nearby, a farmer had been murdered and his son was shot several times; an immediate neighbour was strangled to death. The Pococks also received death threats. Hence the young David was forced to endure an existence few of those present in Croke Park turf this Sunday could ever imagine.
“It's a bit of an exaggeration,” he deflects calmly when pressed about his defence of the family realm. “Most of the farm boys had a gun.
“Our farm got taken in the end so we decided to move to Australia. It was probably a bit traumatic but compared to what other people went through, not really. What gets me is in the western media is that when one white farmer is killed it's in the newspapers all over the world.
“But yet some days 100 black people would go missing and it never got mentioned. I suppose we were the lucky ones to get out when we did.”
Within a week of leaving his homeland, Pocock had started a new life in Brisbane. His dad was a rugby fanatic and his son swiftly caught the bug. Within three years he was on the Australian Schools team.
Still a teenager, he joined the newly-created Super 14 franchise Western Force in 2006. His graduation to the senior team seemed inevitable, especially once the enlightened Robbie Deans heralded a new era in Australian rugby.
That debut, against New Zealand in 2008, arrived six years to the day since he and his family had fled Zimbabwe.
“In terms of character, he's a very strong character,” enthuses Deans of the only change to the side that defeated England at Twickenham last weekend.
“He has a background of, if not hardship, then some realities that he's been brought up with that the rest of us haven't been exposed to.
“He's a young man but he's a man in terms of the way he embraces and accepts the responsibilities he's got. He's not inexperienced, he's played two years in Super 14 rugby and a good background in test rugby. He's established himself. He's a good player. He's got a big future.”
AUSTRALIA: A Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies); P Hynes (Queensland Reds), D Ioane (Queensland Reds), Q Cooper (Queensland Reds), D Mitchell (NSW Waratahs; M Giteau (Brumbies), W Genia (Queensland Reds); B Robinson (NSW Waratahs), S Moore (Brumbies), B Alexander (Brumbies), J Horwill (Queensland Reds), M Chisholm (Brumbies), R Elsom (Brumbies, capt), D Pocock (Western Force), W Palu (NSW Waratahs). Replacements: T Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs), M Dunning (Western Force), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), G Smith (Brumbies), L Burgess (NSW Waratahs), R Cross (Western Force), J O'Connor (Western Force).