Reds coach Richard Graham wants to put some early season pressure on the Waratahs but had his own hands full as centre Mike Harris went down with an ankle injury two days out from the interstate derby.

The Reds announced an unchanged side to face New South Wales in Sydney on Saturday but, behind the scenes, Harris was getting scans on an ankle he injured at training on Tuesday.

Graham had initially thought the former Kiwi would get the green light but was forced to draft in another Wallaby centre, Ant Faingaa, after Harris complained of soreness during a morning weights session.

He could return next week but Graham said he was in a luxurious position to be able to call on Faingaa, a damaging defender who will be given the task to zone in on the dangerous Kurtley Beale.

"I felt given the quality of our bench, it was easier just to make a change and get on with our preparations rather than wait for a late change," Graham said.

"We replace a Wallaby with a Wallaby. We're very fortunate to have a guy like Anthony to come in. He is really looking forward to his opportunity this weekend."

The Waratahs have also had some injury concerns, with Dave Dennis out and young flanker Michael Hooper earning his captaincy stripes.

Every season seems to be a false dawn for the Waratahs but with a glittering roster and a big win against the Western Force already on the books, the expectations are higher than usual.

Graham said the Reds were very keen to pour some cold water on that enthusiasm, which doesn't yet seem to be shared by the public given the predicted crowd of just 25,000 at the cavernous ANZ Stadium.

"The expectation was on them before the season started, wasn't it? People came out and basically handed them the trophy," Graham said.

"You have to work hard, you have to win every game to make it to the top two, you can probably afford to drop two or three games at the absolute most.

"Every week they're under pressure. For us, it's a good opportunity to go down there and turn the screws."

The Reds have kept the motivation subtle thus far this week but Graham said the squad had been certainly reminded of the history of the contest and the importance of retaining the Bob Templeton Cup.

"I think the history has been a little bit understated throughout the week. But the group have a very clear understanding of who we are, what we represent and who's gone before us," Graham said.

"The Templeton Cup has been here for a number of years now. The boys don't want to let go of it."