Coach Tim Sampson says the Western Force have received a boost as they prepare to welcome former All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush into the fold.
The Force put up a brave fight against the Melbourne Rebels last Saturday, leading 5-0 after 30 minutes before losing 28-12 in wet conditions.
The level of competition will go up another notch next week when the Force take on New Zealand powerhouse the Crusaders at nib Stadium on June 22.
Thrush, who notched 12 caps for the All Blacks, will make his World Series Rugby (WSR) debut in that match.
The 33-year-old has been contracted for the remaining four WSR games this year, as well as next year's competition.
"There's an air of excitement around the place with Jeremy arriving," Sampson said of Thrush, who also made more than 100 appearances for the Hurricanes.
"We're keen to sit down with him and get him going straight away in preparation for the Crusaders."
World Cup-winning Springbok Jaque Fourie is expected to spend another match in the Force's coach's box.
But he could make his WSR playing debut next month against a Samoan representative outfit.
Force captain Ian Prior was proud of his team's effort against the Rebels.
And he knows they face an even bigger challenge against the Crusaders, who sit on top of the Super Rugby table with a 12-2 record.
"What a wicked opportunity to come up against a champion franchise," Prior said.
"A lot of these guys grew up watching the Crusaders during their dynasty, and they're still going now, having such a strong season and winning last year."