New Zealand captain Richie McCaw admits the All Blacks’ pre-World Cup resting policy will feel strange when his Crusaders team-mates begin their Super 14 defence without him.
McCaw is one of 22 leading players forcibly omitted from the opening stages of the competition by All Blacks management.
The system has been created to allow them time off ahead of the 2007 World Cup in France.
He said: "Usually you build up towards a big emotional high at the weekend and then start again.
"With this you’ll do your week’s work and then have a couple of days off. I’ll have to work out what to do with myself."
NZRU fitness coach Graham Lowe anticipates the programme, starting on January 1, will give the side an even bigger edge over the opposition.
He told The New Zealand Herald: "It’s actually scary what the potential is for some of these guys because none of them have had a chance to do anything like it before.
"When you look at them physically right now, they’re in pretty good nick. They’ve made improvements from the strategies we’ve used until now just to keep the edge there.
"It’s hard to quantify the potential improvement in them because we just don’t know.
"It could be huge for the fact that they are such impressive athletes in their own right and they’ve achieved what they have despite having to play a significant amount of rugby. So it’s exciting."