Russia winger Vasily Artemyev admits he has extra motivation to perform well during the Rugby World Cup, as he prepares to face off against some familiar faces in Pool C.
The 24-year-old winger is a Muscovite born and bred, but swapped Russia for the Republic of Ireland in his teens, attending Blackrock College and then University College Dublin.
And Artemyev admits that he has been looking forward to lining up against some old friends in the Irish ranks since the draw for Pool C was announced, pitting Russia against Ireland in the sides' third game of the pool stage in New Zealand.
"It'll be a happy moment for me to see some of the guys I haven't seen in a few years," Artemyev told ITV, speaking with just the hint of an Irish accent - picked up, no doubt, during his schooldays.
"You always play against guys you know, so it's not going to affect the structure of the game or my game personally."
Artemyev arrives in New Zealand as Russia's star player, having been signed by Aviva Premiership side Northampton Saints for the 2011-12 season.
But though he developed his game playing in Ireland, the winger actually honed his skills on the less well-known fields of Zelenograd, a suburb of Moscow and Artemyev's birthplace.
"In Zelenograd there are a couple of good underage rugby clubs," he said. "They've been around for a few decades, and it's kind of notorious as a good underage rugby school.
"I was lucky enough to get involved with the sport when I was young and I never really looked back."
From Russia to the Republic of Ireland
Signing for Northampton represents an important career step for Artemyev, and he argues that Russia's talent base is high, with "up to ten guys" in the 30-man World Cup squad who could play at a similar level.
Nevertheless for both Artemyev and Russia this is a first taste of the Rugby World Cup, and as the second-lowest ranked side (above only Namibia) taking part in the tournament, the Bears may struggle.
But Artemyev is looking forward to proving a few of the nay-sayers wrong in New Zealand.
"I can tell you we have good backs as well as a good pack of forwards," he said. "We lack a bit in some areas, which do require some technical coaching, and it's not just something that will happen overnight.
"But that can be fixed in time with some top-class coaching which we are getting right now.
"I think just getting a win out of the pool games that we play will be a definite top-class positive result," he added.
"Regarding the other games, we just want to perform well, we want to be seen by the rugby community across the world that we're a good team and that Russians can actually play rugby."
The Russian Rugby World Cup team are sponsored by premier rugby brand, Canterbury of New Zealand. For more information on Canterbury kit and base layer products please visit www.canterbury.com
Follow ITV Rugby on Twitter