Rugby: 'Boks match a dream come true for Boric

What began as a dream 14 years ago will turn into reality for lock Anthony Boric at Carisbrook tonight when he has his first run-on test for the All Blacks.

Boric (24) has had the dream of playing against the Springboks since he began rugby on the wing as a 10-year-old.

He got up early in the morning to watch on television as the All Blacks played the Springboks in South Africa.

"It's always been a dream for me," he said.

"It's pretty special to know it has come true. It's the pinnacle of rugby for me. As a kid growing up in New Zealand it's what I always wanted to do."

The Springboks play a rugged physical game and Boric does not expect to get things easy tonight.

"I expect even more intensity from them this week," he said.

"They won't be happy with the result at Wellington and will step it up. I'm prepared for that.

"I had a taste of it with the Poms. It will be another step up against these guys."

One player the 2m-tall Boric does pip in the height stakes is his room-mate Brad Thorn, whom he has replaced in the All Black pack for the test in Dunedin.

Thorn is sitting out the test after copping a one-week suspension for a dangerous tackle.

"Brad has a lot of experience and a lot to offer. He's been really good so far," Boric said.

"He's given me a few tips on how to get through them.

"Early in the week he said I should just try and build it up slowly and peak on Saturday. The goal is not to waste too much nervous energy."

Boric would have barely registered on the All Black selectors' radar before the Super 14 but a strong finish to that competition with the Blues and a dramatic thinning of the national locking stocks has propelled Boric into what shapes as a ferocious test.

"It's pretty exciting, a great chance to test myself against two of the best locks as well. I'm really looking forward to it," Boric said.

Thorn was the power behind the All Black scrum in Wellington.

The big test for Boric is to apply the same intensity that helped to push the Springbok scrum back in the capital. Scrum coach Mike Cron has given Boric a few tips. "He's fixed a few little specific things with me," Boric said.

"My scrummaging has improved a lot in the last few weeks.

"He's helped with my foot position, with binding and where I grip and my general body position."

If nothing else, Boric will bring honest graft to his role.

He has inherited the hard-working ethic of a family who shifted from Croatia to start a new life in Auckland two generations ago.

That trait was certainly evident in grandfather Frank, who uprooted from a small village in the picturesque region of Dalmatia on the Adriatic coast.

He worked in the kauri gum fields of Northland before purchasing an orchard in west Auckland, now a stronghold for the Dalmatian community.

"Quite a few of them came out. I'm not sure if a lot of them had much of an idea but it worked pretty well for him. He worked pretty hard," Boric said.

"My dad is still working hard on the orchard. He doesn't want to put his feet up yet."

Boric's parents, Milenko and Sonja, still run the business in Kumeu.

They will be watching the test on TV tonight.

The explosion in his rugby career has forced Boric to ease off on his studies at Auckland University, where he is six years into a degree in civil engineering.

Boric had heard that world-class New Zealand yachtsman Russell Coutts sat the same papers - and took the same approach.

He started playing rugby on the wing as a 10-year-old but change was forced upon him midway through his school years at Rosmini College.

"I turned into a beanpole about 15 and moved into the second row, [and played] a bit as a loosie as well."

He made his senior club debut for Marist aged 19 and was soon noticed by the North Harbour selectors, who played him largely as a blindside flanker.

Both roles have featured in his 25-game Blues career but it is as a lock that he wants to focus on permanently.