America's Cup challengers Luna Rossa says Team New Zealand are "street fighters", which makes them the formidable adversaries in next year's regatta.
Skipper Max Sirena has just left managed isolation and says the Italians are ready to brawl.
"We want to be right in front of Team New Zealand," Sirena tells Newshub.
Luna Rossa's boss has got his wish, with the team's base taking pride of place in Auckland's viaduct.
Getting the base to this point has been a rush, completed in two months and finished just in time for the arrival of the team's boat.
"By the end of this week, we will have the full team here," Sirena says.
But things haven't always gone so smoothly, after a snapped mast in January cost them valuable sailing time.
Sirena says they need to push the boat's limits, because racing will not only be fast, but aggressive.
"I think everyone is going to try and push the other boat to come off the foil," he says.
And teams will definitely try to intimidate each other.
"I think it will only take a few weeks to have probably contact - so it's going to be exciting," he adds.
The Kiwi crew's toughness is one of the main things he learnt from his time with Team New Zealand as an advisor in Bermuda.
"They're all fighters, starting from Grant [Dalton]," says Sirena. "Grant is a street fighter... he never give ups, he fights pretty hard and this message goes through the team."
On Saturday, Sirena had a chance to check out the NZ boat on the Hauraki Gulf.
"It's going to be a theatre in the water," says Sirena. "It's going to be fantastic from people watching from shore... and it's going to be tricky, it's going to be shifty in terms of wind."
Luna Rossa should be sailing by the end of the month - and they'll be sure to take the fighting talk with them.
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