There's not a much bigger impression new King Country coach Kurt McQuilkin could make than guiding his team to Ranfurly Shield glory.
It would be safe to assume he would never have to pay for a drink in the area for the rest of his life.
McQuilkin has not yet coached his side in a match, and his second game in charge will be the shield challenge against Taranaki in Inglewood on July 27.
Preparations for the game are coming together well for the Rams, with a group of about 30 players training together once a month since January and twice a month more recently.
The squad will be reduced to 25 or 26 for a pre-season clash against Wanganui in Taihape next Wednesday before it is whittled down for the shield challenge.
McQuilkin, who used to play for King Country, went on to play five tests for Ireland between 1996-1997, and the former centre has been in Ireland for the last 15 years after taking up coaching.
After helping coach Leinster to win the Heineken Cup in 2009, McQuilkin came back to New Zealand the following year and felt he needed a break from rugby for a while, so "took in the scenery round the King Country rugby fraternity".
"I guess the big reason for coming back was my family, we wanted to give our two little girls that sort of outdoor lifestyle for a while too," McQuilkin said of his and his Irish wife's plans.
"The position came up after last year's not great season and I spoke to [assistant coach] Paul Mitchell and said: `Do you fancy it?' and we thought: `Yeah, what the hell, we'll give it a go'."
"I know for myself coming out of that professional environment into a sort semi/amateur scene again, you have to be very wary that these guys aren't getting paid big bucks and you don't have them six days of the week," McQuilkin said of the change. "You've got to cater your sessions to that and also try not to over-burden them too much with the technical sides of the game. I love their attitude, they're playing it for the right reason."
All of Taranaki's Super Rugby players will be rested for the first challenge of the season, but McQuilkin knows they'll still put out "a hell of a side".
"We'll go in as rank outsiders, and rightly so, but we're looking forward to the challenge in what will be probably our players' biggest game of their rugby careers," McQuilkin said.
King Country will use their full quota of two players of origin and two loan players this season, one of which will be 36-year-old former Samoa international Tanner Vili, with the fullback/first five-eighth having played for the Rams in 2010 andhas headed to Japan each off-season to coach.
McQuilkin said at this stage he was making sure his players weren't getting "too over-amped" about the shield challenge, and wanted to focus on Wanganui first.
"But once we get that game out of the way it's all about what a great occasion it's going to be and what a great honour it will be for these King Country players to have a shield challenge," he said.
"It's steeped in history, it's steeped in the odd upset too, which gives us a bit of a boost."
Plenty of work has been done on fitness and around the contact area, both offensively and defensively, so King Country can give themselves a shot of getting off their line and winning the collisions, particularly early on.
"We'll be looking to get into them early on, get in their faces, and just see what happens," McQuilkin said.
"We're just going to go out there and the pressure's going to be on Taranaki, they're the red hot favourites, we've just got to front up and play to our systems and make sure we play for each other."
- © Fairfax NZ News