NSW coach Daryl Gibson will rest big guns Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley during the 2019 Super Rugby season in a move he hopes will aid both his Waratahs and the beleaguered Wallabies.
In addition to feeling his players were fatigued during this year's Super Rugby finals series, Gibson accepts Beale and Foley may have been jaded in the latter stages of Australia's dismal Test season after gruelling workloads for state and country.
"KB (Beale) played upwards of 30 games (in 2018). You can't expect a player to be at his absolute best in each of those games," Gibson said on Thursday.
"That's a big ask of a player so we know that certainly, if we want to get the best out of a player, we have to manage them better."
A season review revealed the Waratahs used the least amount of players of any of the 15 Super Rugby franchises last season.
While the Waratahs only used 34 players, the championship-winning Crusaders spread the workload between 44.
"So that shows us straight away, that as a strategy, we need to improve the depth of our squad, and trust our (other fringe) players can do a job," Gibson said.
Gibson won't decide when to rest his stars, including workaholic captain Michael Hooper and Wallabies superstar Israel Folau, until closer study of the draw.
But he agrees "100 per cent" that the Waratahs need to work better with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in trying to keep the country's best players fresh for national duty - especially in a World Cup year.
"It's a long season. There's 16 to 18 games until we get to the playoffs.
"We (want to) get to those playoffs not gassed.
"This year against the Lions (in the semi-finals), I think we were running out of petrol."
The same appeared to happen for Foley and Beale towards the end of the Wallabies' 13-Test season.
After both started all 18 games for the Waratahs, Foley was relegated to the bench for two matches during the Rugby Championship and then shifted to inside centre on the Europe tour as Cheika gave Matt Toomua a crack in the No.10 jumper, while Beale lost his spark too.
"That's why we're in a situation where Bernard and KB have got extremely high minutes (and) 100 per cent we know that we're going to have to manage them better this season," Gibson said.
Gibson, though, ruled out any prospect of reuniting with Cheika should the Waratahs' 2014 Super Rugby-title winning coach call on his former state assistant to help the Wallabies out in the event of Rugby Australia ordering a shake-up of Cheika's national coaching set-up.
"Yeah, no, I'm very focused on the Waratahs," Gibson said.
"I want to be part of a winning campaign here."