Highlanders centre Rob Thompson admits he has a task on his hand, replacing former All Blacks star Malakai Fekitoa this Super Rugby season.
Fekitoa, 25, left the Highlander and New Zealand Rugby for French side Toulon last year, with Thompson so far establishing himself as the bruising centre's replacement.
"Mala (Fekitoa) left huge boots to fill," Thompson said.
"The man is a freakish trainer. He worked tirelessly that guy, just inspirational."
Thompson says that he learned from Fekitoa's example, with the pair having spent two seasons together at the Highlanders.
"I watched him closely, he's a good man Malakai."
"I learned a lot over the two years I was with him, he's a good friend of mine."