NSW Waratahs forwards coach Simon Cron says it would be stupid for his surging Super Rugby side to get cocky as they enter a huge season-defining run of tough games.
Cron described the Tahs as a massive work in progress despite their recent hot form.
In their past four matches, NSW have completed a sweep of their Australian conference rivals to climb above early pacesetter Melbourne Rebels.
Their draw is about to get significantly harder.
On Friday they host the Lions, the South African conference leaders, who Cron believes are even better this year after being losing finalists in the past two seasons.
Even if they clear that hurdle, NSW then face the daunting prospect of confronting New Zealand sides in their next four games.
"I think our conference at the moment there's obviously naturally an internal battle between all the Australian teams," Cron said.
"But on any given day each of those sides are really good so I think it would be stupid to be cocky.
"(Captain Michael Hooper) said at the end of the game (against Queensland last week) the most important thing for the boys is that they understand now and then they will get a pat on the back but they haven't earned that yet."
Cron expects the Lions to base their attack on the Tahs through the set pieces.
"I don't see many weaknesses across the park for them in their set piece or their attack and defence so for us it's going to be test of every position," Cron said.
Cron wants NSW to show more patience and display better decision making after they squandered some promising positions against the Reds.
"We threw away a lot of ball down the sideline," Cron said.
"We were looking for 50-50 offloads when they weren't on and as a result all we did was alleviate pressure."
He said backrowers Michael Wells and Will Miller, and lock Rob Simmons were doing less contact work early in the week but they were expected to play on Friday.