When a 19-year-old Cian Healy grabbed me by the quads and launched me into the air, on his own, at the front of the lineout, I realised the rumours circling Leinster's strongman loosehead were undoubtedly true.
After catching my breath upon my safe return to ground, a grin broke across Healy's face before we repeated the drill, again trying to disrupt the Ireland set-piece as preparations were ramped up for the 2007 World Cup.
The teenage prop made quite a first impression on me - he wasn't even in the Irish squad at that stage, merely padding out the training numbers and getting a taste for what would soon become his regular environment.
After that awakening afternoon, two more Ireland appearances the following November would wrap up my international career - at 27 caps. That Healy (33) is wearing the green jersey for the 100th time in Saint-Denis tonight is simply extraordinary.
You know when you see one, and in Cian Healy it was obvious from early on that Leinster and Ireland had unearthed a gem. But there have been plenty of freakish power athletes over the years who have apparently been destined to become international props, only to be found out in the scrum.
To the uninitiated, spearheading the front of the set-piece may seem like a simple bulldozing operation, a tug-of-war turned on its head. But within the nuanced world of scrummaging, technique is as important - if not more so - than raw power.
Healy had some early struggles in the scrum. I've never seen a young prop who didn't. But he, literally, put the head down and worked through it to become, at a couple of stages in his career, one of the best loosehead props in the world.
Healy saw the big picture with the scrum, realising there was a lot more to it than brute strength. Perhaps, collectively, we need to afford him the same courtesy.
When we think of Healy it's easy to wax lyrical about the 185kg that are visibly bending from the plates squeezed on at either end, or even running through and over Richie McCaw in 2013.
But it's the mental strength of this man that I most admire.
To reach a milestone like this, considering the dark places he has had to dig himself out of, shows a robustness of an altogether different kind.
Maybe it's his unhurried nature, or the fact that no occasion, whether a first training session with Ireland or the sight of a three-time World Player of the Year in an aggressive All Black defence, ever seemed to faze him.
But consider for a second the journey he has travelled since the summer of 2015, when the nerve damage in his right hand - after neck surgery - was so bad that he couldn't write his own name or turn the key in the door.
The insurance forms were ready to go, retirement from the game seemed inevitable.
Thankfully, a faint but timely sensation in the hand ignited a flicker of hope, and Healy's mental fortitude then took care of the rest.
Tonight marks his 49th international appearance since that crossroads moment where many others would only have seen a dead end.
I particularly envied Healy's ability to separate rugby from life; to approach each game on its merits, assess his role and perform it to the best of his ability, all with that nonchalant way of his.
We were known in Munster, and probably yours truly in particular, for being frenzied beyond repair on occasion. You'd have the game played in your head about six times before you took the field. The thoughts of making mistakes had you so wired you simply couldn't perform. A foreign concept for Healy, I suspect.
I never got to play alongside Healy for Ireland, our international careers only briefly inter-lapping, but he still had enough time to embarrass me, and many other others too, during our Ireland weights sessions.
I was 33 or 34 thinking to myself that I was going great guns in the gym, eking out the odd personal best here and there, only to be brought back to earth by a shuddering floor that was struggling to cope with Healy's monstrous repetitions.
From the outside looking in it may have seemed that Healy was a new-age prop in attitude and interests from the old-school Munster ways when he first exploded onto the Ireland scene in 2009.
Here was this prop with a bodybuilder's physique out-lifting everyone else in the gym while sporting enormous headphones and the latest audio technology. It was an eye-opener to plenty of us still stuck in the Walkman era, never mind the weights.
A prop who enjoyed painting, rollerblading and skateboarding was far removed from the more primitive hobbies of Peter Clohessy and John Hayes, but there was an old-school element to Healy too - he could play as hard as he trained.
Hayes and Healy are opposites in many respects. A tighthead and a loosehead from different worlds; one began playing rugby at 19, the other was an Under-20 Grand Slam winner at the same age.
However, a Limerick farmer and a Dublin DJ now prop up the Irish centurions - either side of Rory Best - an achievement all the more notable when you consider the physical demands on the frontline.
That theme continues tonight, with Montpellier's Mohamed Haouas awaiting as the latest formidable tighthead opponent for Healy to tackle in the scrum, which will be a crucial battleground.
It's just as well that Healy and Andrew Porter, who is already looking like Healy 2.0 on the other side of the scrum, don't seem to feel pressure because there will be plenty of it generated during the set-piece at the Stade de France.
The French will have analysed Leinster's recent scrum struggles against Saracens in the European Champions Cup and I'm sure they will look to ram home a 25kg Les Bleus advantage across the second-row once Wayne Barnes calls 'set'.
As he reaches 100 not out, it would be fitting if Healy could help provide the platform for a famous Irish win.