Michael Cheika has quashed speculation the Waratahs will field an under-strength team for their clash with Queensland on Saturday, saying to do so would promote a "bad mindset" within the minor premiers.
The final-round derby clash at Suncorp Stadium will have no scoreboard impact on the Waratahs' spot in the finals series after the side clinched top spot with a bonus point-win over the Highlanders last week.
But Cheika rejected suggestions the match was an opportunity to rest players or protect them from risk of injury, confirming that key starters Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas and Alofa Alofa were all on track to play in Brisbane and would not be wrapped in cotton wool.
"You could [injure a player] at any time, in training or regular games," he said. "This is a contact sport, you don't go into it worrying about things like that.
"It's a bad mindset if you do, something is almost bound to happen. Just go in there, play with the guys you have and see what cards you're dealt."
Cheika said he had been rotating players through training to manage their loads and was doing the same this week.
"What we've done with those international guys who were with the Wallabies in June is, as the season has played out, we've rotated one a week out from a day here or there," he said.
"We've done it with Adam Ashley-Cooper, we've done it with Michael Hooper and we did it with Bernard too this week.
"But as for not using players, I don't want to have that style of worring about things that may or may not happen."
The Reds, meanwhile, have spent the week fighting off accusations from Queensland legend Stan Pilecki that their 30-20 loss to the Force last week showed they felt no pride in the Reds jersey.
Test second-rower Rob Simmons defended the playing group on Wednesday, saying he was angered by Pilecki's comments that he was "embarrassed and disgusted" with the side's effort.
"It's disappointing, you can say it all out there but to question our effort we get very frustrated at that. The effort's not the question, you can question anything else but it's a bit disappointing really [to question their effort]," Simmons said.
"As players we're not sugar-coating anything, we know it's not the ideal season, we're not happy with it, and there's been a few changes this season and you can expect a few more next season and we're looking to improve. We're pretty disappointed with it and looking to finish on a high."
About the only place the Reds have an edge over NSW is at set piece. The Queenslanders have conceded six more tries (48) than they have scored (42) this season and are occupying lowly 12th place on the ladder, but on lineout and scrum success they are in the top five in the competition while the Waratahs are trending near the bottom.
Simmons said the Reds had an opportunity there to cause NSW a headache leading into their finals campaign.
"It's a tough one, they're a pretty good team all around but we have pretty good set piece at the moment, especially our lineout in attack and defence, so we'll try to get to set piece nice and fast, speed things up and basically just try to beat them in every little battle in the forward play so our backs can start running riot," he said.
The second and back rows are the only places Cheika could tinker with selection, with regular No.6 Jacques Potgieter a solid second-row lineout option and Test rookie Will Skelton an option there too.
Either way, neither the Waratahs nor Reds are taking Saturday's clash for granted.
A NSW loss would expose a soft underbelly and Queensland will have Pilecki's barbs ringing in their ears.
"There's a few people saying in the media it might be a dead rubber, but I can guarantee you Saturday night won't be a dead rubber," Simmons said.
"This is state of origin for rugby union."