Bernard Foley acknowledges he is entering unknown territory as he prepares to soldier on playing after a stint in Japanese rugby.
The Wallabies five-eighth is back in Sydney and relaxing before another Super Rugby season after becoming the first Australian to embark on a flexible ARU contract by heading to Japanese club Ricoh Black Rams.
Despite taking the field in a relegation game late last month, Foley's last full game was on January 23, meaning he will have almost a month off before sliding into five-eighth for the Waratahs against the Highlanders in Queenstown on February 19.
However, after a long Test period which led into an even more gruelling World Cup, Foley is very aware of how transparent he needs to be with Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson if he is to stay rejuvenated for the rest of the year.
"We definitely did speak of monitoring and having two-way communication throughout the season and Daryl has been very open discussing plans with me," Foley said. "I think it's always a concern going into the start of the season whether you've done enough preparation, but for me, I think I know my body quite well. We haven't spoken of a contingency plan, but I'll be raring to go and [I'm] looking forward to the season ahead."
All eyes will be on Foley to see if he can maintain the attacking flair and creativity that helped propel Australia to a World Cup final.
Foley argued that playing consistency could be beneficial for the fact it has kept him in prime physical condition but conceded even he did not know what toll so much extra football would have on his body.
"It's the unknown for me at the moment," Foley said. "I haven't had to do it in the past and it's definitely going to be a challenge and sometimes I might be mentally drained, but I think it's going to be exciting for me to stay refreshed. I think if I'm back here I want to be playing if I'm fit. I want to be in that jersey."
The 27-Test playmaker said he would encourage other players to explore their options overseas so they can improve their skills at the same time.
"I'd thoroughly recommend it in the fact that you can experience rugby in a different culture," Foley said. "In saying that, you've also got to be maintaining your performance. You have to be at the peak of your game when you're playing and that's going to be the challenge [for me] this year."
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said while it was great to see Foley back on Australian soil, his personal welfare was paramount to all parties involved.
"Bernard has played a lot of rugby, so we're going to be very careful," Pulver said. "That's a discussion we have with the Players Association [RUPA]."
Pulver was on deck to announce the ARU's partnership with BMW, which will sponsor and have the naming rights for Australia's national elite development pathway known as 'The Pathway to Gold Program'.