Harlequins fly-half Ben Botica believes he is ready to intensify his rivalry with Nick Evans to be the club's first-choice pivot.
Botica admits that he didn't expect to earn as much playing time as he did last season but having acquired a taste for a starting role he feels he is ready to wear Quins' number 10 jersey more regularly.
After signing last summer to provide competition to former All Black Evans, the 23-year-old stepped into the breach in confident fashion when called upon early on with Evans out injured.
The New-Zealand born Botica, who also provides cover at centre, kicked the Twickenham Stoop outfit to LV= Cup success over Sale Sharks in a season where they lost their Aviva Premiership crown.
But admitting his battle with Evans at fly-half is just one of many fiercely-contested positions, Botica believes Harlequins are looking in great shape as they bid to start their assault on regaining their title.
"It was great to be signed at the club last year and to then get as much game time as I did," said Botica.
"Coming here I wasn't expecting too much and it was just how fate headed that I got to play quite a bit so I was pretty happy with that and winning the LV= Cup was good.
"I want to keep pushing Nick [Evans], he's such a talented player and he keeps me striving to get better and hopefully I can push him all the way this year.
"But there's competition in every position and it just makes you want to keep getting better and better and that's what makes our team better because everyone is trying to be the best they can be.
"There are no hard feelings at the end of the day, it's a job and if you're better than the other person you're better than the other person and the boys love the competition.
"There haven't been many changes to our team, a few new boys have come in but we are predominantly the same as last year so everyone already knew how each other played - so I think it's just gelling better this year.
"I can't wait for the season to start and think we are in a better position to start the season than we were last year."
First up for Conor O'Shea's men are London Wasps as part of the London Double Header at Twickenham - a game that last year Harlequins won 40-42 in the dying seconds having been 40-13 down.
And Botica insists his side will be looking to make a real statement of intent when the two teams meet on 7 September and hopefully seal a first win of the season in a more straightforward manner.
"The boys are learning a few new tricks ahead of the London Double Header so hopefully we will get to pull those out and I'm just looking forward to the game," he added.
"We've had a few pre-season games but this is the real deal and the start to what will hopefully be a successful season.
"We have in the past probably taken the foot off the throat a bit in the last twenty minutes and had the spectators on the edge of their seats so hopefully this season we can put teams away a bit better."