CHRIS PATERSON is convinced Scotland could be facing "the world's best player" in Saturday's second Autumn rugby Test against Pacific Islands at Murrayfield.
While Paterson today settled back into the captaincy role he relinquished two years ago, the islanders were looking to integrate Fijian Rupeni Caucaunibuca after the star winger missed the start of the tour through misplacing his passport and being stranded in France, where he represents club side Agen.
Whether Caucau's impending return is casting a shadow over Paterson's big day was hard to say but the respect in which he holds his rival is clear. "Pacific Islands are liable to include Caucau who, when he is fit, can be the world's best player. He is an incredible talent," said Paterson.
The good news regarding prospects of adding to Saturday's record 48-6 win over Romania when the series continues is that Paterson is already laying plans believing the player who is now seeking to be top scorer in French club rugby for a third consecutive year can be seen off - while being careful also to warn of the team being rendered vulnerable to threats elsewhere.
"How do you stop Caucau is the big question.
"The answer? Not very easily because he is the type who can win a game almost on his own.
"On top of that the Pacific Islands being a composite side drawn from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga don't play all that often and so there is no bench-mark for them in terms of world rankings.
"There really is a danger of putting too much emphasis on their signature tackling - every international team hit hard but they do it better - but by keeping our discipline and shape as well as preparing well we can guard against them flying up in a line and trying to pick us off.
"We can win against opponents who ran Australia very close at one point in Perth last year by playing to our structure and trusting what we do," said Paterson who needs 20 points on Saturday to take his Test total up to the magical 500 mark.
For Paterson it will be a 68th cap but compared to the last eight internationals he has started the Edinburgh ace will be at full back rather than wing.
"Really, the back three positions are interchangeable so I am not concerned about the switch," said Paterson who last weekend came off the bench having picked up an ankle knock a week previously.
"I have played probably as many times for Scotland at full back as on the wing and having been asked to cover stand-off last week I was given every opportunity to prepare even though in the event I wasn't required to move forward.
"Overall I was pleased to get on after 65 minutes and contribute to some good work. When we got quick ball the tries [seven] came.
"We were a bit rusty but that was only to be expected in our first international. I am sure we can up our standard on Saturday with the help of some homework on the opposition - we are looking at tapes of their defeat in Wales - which we will have to do."