MUNSTER v OSPREYS: Hooker Scott Baldwin ready to make play for No. 2 jersey while Richard Hibbard is away
HE may be a 6ft 2in, 17st 8lb hooker, but if there are any tightropes for the Ospreys to walk later in the season, Scott Baldwin will probably be expected to step forward and lead the way.
It's all down to balance, you see.
These days he may be carrying the muscle and bulk of a professional rugby player, but there was a time when the Bridgend product was an accomplished skateboarder.
In fact, he so enjoyed the sport it delayed his entry into rugby as a teenager.
"I gave rugby up for five or six years to do a bit of skateboarding," he said.
"I wasn't bad and enjoyed it a lot. I used to do the ramps but my forte was the street stuff and I entered a few competitions, sponsored by a local shop. I took it seriously until I was about 16, then I got a bit bigger and the skateboard started to snap.
"It just got to the point where it was more sociable to play rugby."
The requirement tomorrow won't be for any kickflips, McTwists or switch stances from Baldwin at Thomond Park.
Instead, the Ospreys will want him to throw to line-outs with the accuracy of an elite darts player; they will need him to shove his weight in scrums and hook the ball for good measure; they will hope for upwards of a dozen ball carries; and they will require a tackling count that hits double figures if the home side enjoy a lot of possession.
Oh, and he will probably need to hit around 15 rucks.
Such is the lot of the hooker in the gladiatorial arena that is modern rugby.
But Baldwin is relishing his opportunity against Munster.
For the one-cap Wales international, it is the chance he has been waiting for.
He has spent the past five games shadowing Richard Hibbard and watching the Ospreys' one-man demolition unit going about his business: thumping tackles, ceaseless effort and all.
Baldwin has been restricted to an impact role but he is a player who is rated highly at the Liberty, someone who is seen as being capable of producing superlative shows himself.
November presents him with three league opportunities, against Munster this weekend and against Zebre and Glasgow in Swansea. For him, it's a case of when Hibbs is away, the skateboarder must play — well.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said.
"I've been coming off the bench over the past few weeks, but hopefully I'll get the nod for Munster and get out there in the No. 2 jersey again. It'll be a good feeling.
"I think I've been doing okay off the bench, but I want to do it from the start now and put in a good 80-minute performance and achieve the consistency that's required at this level.
"It isn't easy as an impact player.
"While you are trying to do everything, you have to remember to keep your composure and focus on the structure of the game. It's difficult; it's always exciting when you come on with fresh legs, 60 minutes into a game.
"But you want to start, preferably in every match."
Another Baldwin try wouldn't go amiss in Limerick.
Before this season he hadn't scored once in the five years since his regional debut.
But he crossed against Treviso in the opening game of the campaign and last weekend he claimed his side's bonus-point score against the Dragons.
"My tally is going up slowly," he laughed.
"It was just good work by the boys again, the same as in Treviso at the start of the season: a driving line-out that sucked in the opposition, and I was lucky enough to get in down the touchline — 45 metres.
"Seriously, it was just about working through the processes Chris Gibbes has brought in and everyone knowing their roles and not acting as individuals."
Publicly, the Ospreys may say they are excited about what November holds, but they will also appreciate the scale of the challenge facing them, with 14 players away on Test duty — 11 with Wales and three with Canada.
They are particularly hard hit up front, with nine players missing, including six Lions.
But Baldwin is adamant they will not be using their depleted squad as an excuse for a below-par performance.
"We've said in training this week that we're going out there with a point to prove, that we are building depth in our squad every year," he said.
"We want to get a W.
"We just want to focus on what we have in our squad, which is exciting young talent, rather than what we don't have.
"I think we have the depth to cope. We have lost a lot of boys in the front row, but we have some good youngsters who are going to want to put down markers for the future.
"It's been a good environment over the past few days, really energetic.
"That said, we know what Munster are about. Aside from a blip in the Heineken Cup against Edinburgh, they've started the season really well.
"We want a performance in keeping with our position as one of the league leaders.
"We played well against the Dragons and it's up to us to keep ourselves in the top two."
It won't be easy.
But when you are able to hurtle around on a plank of wood at 40 miles an hour, combining spins and flips and even jumps, everything's relative.