Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps will be taking every precaution as he works his way back from a calf injury.
Phipps was initially expected to be ready for round one, after straining his calf in training two weeks out from the season opener, but more severe damage has his return more likely set for Africa.
It’s an unusual situation for the scrumhalf, who barely missed a match in his first six Super Rugby seasons, before an injury-hampered 2017.
A rolled ankle and syndesmosis hampered his Super Rugby season last year, and the 29-year-old found himself back in club rugby with Sydney Uni as well.
Though he’s not a fan of sitting on the sideline, Phipps said he had to ensure he didn’t try and force his way back too soon.
“It's one of those things where you've got to take your advice,” he said.
“Kieran, the Wallabies physio said you can't rush it.
“Once you hear that sort of advice, it's good to take a back seat for a little bit and stop trying to push it.”
Phipps is set to be replaced by Jake Gordon for round one and said he had plenty of faith in Gordon and Randwick’s Mitch Short, who will likely come onto the bench against the Stormers.
“It's good to see them working hard and setting themselves high goals to make sure they are keeping themselves accountable,” he said.
“They're going to be working hard for us. I think ti's fantastic to be able to give them those opportunities early.”
Gordon has been keeping the pressure on Phipps in the scrumhalf position regardless of fitness and the latter said that was something being replicated across the squad.
“Training is pretty useless if the second team is always just sitting on their heels, taking it a little bit,” he said.
“Daryl is literally picking people off their training performances and how hard they're working and how well they're going around the squad.
“That's what we want to drive and that's something we're really enjoying watching and growing in that culture of the club at the moment and it's awesome.
“It's good to sit there and watch them just teeing off on each other every session and it's putting us in a good space to start the season well.
“We know it's going to be a bloody long season so there's no point throwing all our eggs out right now but it's good the building blocks are getting laid now.”
The Waratahs take on the Stormers on Saturday February 24, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.