Hurricanes loose forward Faifili Levave says making the step up to test rugby last year has taken his game to another level.
The 28 year-old made his Manu Samoa debut against Ireland in Dublin and also played against Georgia during their November tour.
Levave has been a fixture in the Hurricanes starting line-up this season, providing valuable experience alongside fellow Samoa international Jack Lam in a back row missing the injured Victor Vito and Brad Shields.
Levave says his experiences with Samoa have helped him in Super Rugby.
"I guess just challenging myself to get fit and to represent that I am an international player now so just setting the benchmark quite high for my own personal standards. Start of [the] Super Rugby season I've just got more clarity in my roles here at the Canes. I'm aware of what I need to do and it's just a matter of executing every task to the best of your ability."
Levave will start alongside Jack Lam and Ardie Savea in the Hurricanes back row trio for Friday night's match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.