Coaches could almost forgive Cadeyrn Neville for falling asleep in a team meeting.
Not because of the physical toll of a Super Rugby pre-season, but because the ACT Brumbies lock's new-born son Lewis could make for the odd sleepless night.
"He's actually taken a bit easier on us than our daughter did. I'm pretty thankful given the time of year he arrived," Neville grinned.
"The day is definitely not over when I leave here. We're pretty busy until I go to bed and then we're back on again in the morning."
Neville, told by Dave Rennie he would have featured in the Wallabies squad this year if not for injury, jokes he's been tempted to catch up on sleep in a few meetings but so far he's managed to stay awake. Well, for the most part.
MORE RUGBY UNION
Because on Wednesday morning emerging prop Fred Kaihea managed to jag a video of the towering lock resting on a couch, his head perched back against a whiteboard, eyes firmly shut.
It's a result of a new-look pre-season program which has seen speed and intensity take priority over the traditional conditioning "floggings" in the Canberra sun.
But even so young Brumby Tom Hooper says the first week is always "a shock to the system".
"We had a review process where we just knew we weren't up to the standard of the New Zealand teams," Hooper said.
"We thought we were holding ourselves in pretty high stead as far as the Australian teams go but we got a rude shock at the back end of last year. We knew something had to change, and we've come in wanting to get better. We're going to do that.
"These first two weeks we've taken a step back from really flogging us, and it's more just focusing on that power, that intent, and just being really explosive. Lord [forwards coach Laurie Fisher] keeps talking about dynamism and making sure we're dynamic through that contact. That's a really key theme."
Rugby Australia and their New Zealand counterparts could be forced to revamp the Super Rugby Pacific fixture amid concerns border restrictions will wreak havoc with the competition.
The New Zealand government on Wednesday unveiled its plan for opening its international border. All fully vaccinated individuals will be able to travel into the country from April 30 and serve a one-week period of home isolation
The Super Rugby fixture is in the firing line given cross-border play is supposed to commence when the Brumbies face Moana Pasifika in Auckland on February 18.
The staged opening of the borders could force New Zealand-based teams to relocate to Australia until home isolation is no longer required.
But it seems more likely that a revamped fixture would include more derbies in the opening half of the competition before the borders open to allow travel without isolation.
The Brumbies were Australia's highest-ranked team in this year's Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament, but they managed the feat with just one win. It's a number the club is desperate to change.
"We probably underperformed considering where we are and what we actually left on the scoreboard," Neville said.
"It wasn't just the gap in skills and intensity, for whatever reason we underperformed ultimately. A short competition can really expose that. The year before, we weren't equal with them but I think we were closer. We obviously let things slip in that time.
"We're all extremely competitive people and can't really sit idly by and let results like that happen. We're doing everything we can to fix that."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: