When Danny Cipriani made his full England debut at Twickenham a decade ago schoolboy Owen Farrell saw him as a superstar.
Eleven years on he can’t get into the England team because of Farrell - and the Saracens man today stands between Cipriani and a showpiece return to the home of rugby.
Gloucester’s maverick fly-half has cleaned up in awards season, becoming only the second man to be named player of the year both by the Premiership and his fellow professionals.
But he would give that up in a heartbeat for semi-final victory in London over the reigning English and European champions.
“When you look back on your career it's nice to know that happened in that one year,” Cipriani said. “But you'd trade it all in to get a win this weekend.”
For the ninth time this season Eddie Jones will travel to watch him - prompting Gloucester to joke that he should buy a season ticket.
Yet the Australian has not picked him since last summer when he started alongside Farrell in Cape Town. England won but, to the naked eye, the pair did not appear to strike up much of a relationship.
“People make a thing about the characters of me and Owen,” countered Cipriani. “With my non-selection, people want to find a reason why, but in that moment it might not be what the coach feels and you have to accept that.
“There are all different types of characters in my life and I get on really well with Owen. He's extremely talented, unbelievably competitive and you can see the aura he has. Sportsmen have a very similar DNA.”
Farrell admits he does not know Cipriani as well as I know “some others” but claims: “I’ve always been good with him.”
He added: “It is different because I have not spent as much time with Danny. But it’s always good to see different ways of looking at things.”
Cipriani wowed Farrell with a show-stopping performance against Ireland on his first England start back in 2008 yet has since worn the No.10 jersey just four times - while his rival has amassed 70 caps.
“Danny was a superstar at a young age, wasn’t he?” said Farrell. “He could do some electric things. I was still in sixth form but you remember some of the tries he was involved in and scored. It’s the same now."
And so the stage is set for the clash between two playmakers contrasting in style but equal in influence.
What a tale it would be if a season which began with Cipriani in the clink ended with him unlocking the door to an England return.