Stepping out for a Highlanders debut against their greatest Super Rugby rivals, the Crusaders, would add to the challenge for first five-eighths Cameron Millar in the Farmlands Cup pre-season game in Weston on Friday.

The New Zealand Under-20 representative last year has played 13 games for Otago but is well aware of the greater demands of Super Rugby.

Millar said the pre-season had been twice as long as last year, and he was looking forward to getting into match play after all the conditioning sessions the squad had been through.

Last year, his contract as part of the Under-20s team meant he was in and out of pre-season training.

But this season's pre-season had been a lot easier and more enjoyable. There were fewer nerves involved. He knew more players and what to expect from the trainers in the hard sessions. 

In his role at first five-eighths, it had been helpful getting to know the players last year, making it easier to call the shots.

"I feel like once you know people better off the field, it translates better on the field, and I feel more comfortable bossing those boys around now. I'm not so out of place as a young first-five."

While there had been comments about the young group that he is a part of coming through the team, he wasn't feeling any pressure from that. It was just a case of progressing with the coaches.

"I'm just enjoying it, I haven't noticed the outside noise."

During last year's Bunnings NPC for Otago, Millar acknowledged that he wanted to develop his running game. He was still working on that while also putting in the work on his core roles of kicking and tactical output. Putting on some extra weight helped to play against bigger opponents.