Dougie Fife grew up dreaming of playing at Murrayfield, but as he stood on the sidelines at the Millennium Stadium yesterday it was pretty clear he would settle for a debut in Cardiff.

The 16th player to earn a first cap on coach Scott Johnson's watch, winger Fife's arrival on the Test stage has been hastened by the injuries that removed Tim Visser, Sean Lamont, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour, but he is determined to show he his worth his place on his own merits.

And while he could hardly face a more formidable foe than George North, the Lions star who will be his direct opponent today, the 23-year-old Fife showed the coolness for which he is renowned as he spoke of the challenge ahead.

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"No-one is going to be easy to play against at this level," said the former Currie and Boroughmuir starlet. "They have a big bunch of backs who have played together for a long time so they know each other inside out. I'm looking forward to it, especially here on their home ground. It doesn't get much better than this."

Maybe so, but while the thought of playing against one of the greatest players in the game is one thing, the reality of having 17st of red-shirted menace bearing down on you at a fearsome pace is quite another. How exactly is Fife going to deal with that?

"They are all good runners with a lot of pace," he said, his refusal to focus on North alone perhaps being significant. "They are very direct so you just have to go low and put your body on the line, as you have to with anyone at this level.

"In the stadium it's starting to feel a bit more real and I cant wait for tomorrow. I feel that I've performed well for Edinburgh and this is the next step. I feel I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

Johnson clearly thought so when he took Fife aside at Murrayfield on Thursday morning and told him that he would be starting. It is the kind of thing that would turn many players to jelly, but Fife took it in his stride.

"I was excited but we were out training straight after that," he said. "It didn't really sink in. The only time I got a moment to myself was when we got to the hotel here.

"I've just got to keep my head. It will be a massive occasion, with a big crowd, and personally it will be huge. But the team comes first, that's the main thing.

"The other players have said that it won't get much better atmosphere-wise so I should try to enjoy it. I don't know how much I will enjoy it because I just have to get my head down and focus on the game."