Newport Gwent Dragons new signing Lee Byrne admits that being appointed captain for the new season was 'a complete shock'.
The Wales full-back has returned to his homeland after a stint in France with leading Top 14 side Clermont.
One of a number of key signings including Aled Brew, Andy Powell and Brok Harris, Byrne is seen as the star recruit for the Dragons as they continue their resurgence under Lyn Jones.
Stating that initially he thought Jones was joking about the appointment, Byrne has discussed the pressure and responsibility of leading the Welsh region into the new campaign.
Byrne has taken over the captaincy from fellow Wales international Andrew Coombs.
"(The captaincy) came as a complete shock and I thought it was one of Lyn's jokes," Byrne told the South West Argus.
"It's a lot of responsibility and Andrew Coombs did a great job last year.
"It's a lot of pressure but something I am looking forward to - it's one of the biggest honours I've had along with playing for Wales and the Lions.
"It's been nine weeks of pre-season whereas in France we'd have three and they're back into the Top14 this weekend.
"It's been the longest pre-season I've had in three years - now I want to just get the ball in my hands.
"There's only so much fitness you can do and we are all looking forward to getting out there against Bristol."