One of the skills required by provincial coaches these days is managing players and determining just when they should, or should not, return to the starting side.
Whether it be due to injuries, All Blacks duties or just a need for a rest, coaches are always pondering their permutations ahead of the next match - just as we have been for this Saturday night's match against Otago in Dunedin.
Last weekend we believed it was the appropriate time to manage Sonny Bill Williams's time in the jersey and ensure he remained 100 percent fit, especially given that he had previously made two 80-minute appearances against Taranaki and Northland after his comeback from injury. So we listed him on the bench.
That gave myself and my assistant coach Tabai Matson the opportunity to start Ryan Crotty, who was coming back from a foot injury, in the first half of the win against Wellington at AMI Stadium before bringing Sonny on after the halftime break.
And when we consider our players and combinations there is also the additional need for us to manage the wider group of players, because we also need to take into consideration the selection of the All Blacks squad before it is named next month and what impact it will have on our title chances.
The naming of the All Blacks will result in us losing a number of players following our October 16 match against Counties-Manukau; it will have a direct impact on who we have available to start in the final round-robin match in the ITM Cup against Waikato, and if we qualify, for the play-offs.
Giving Sonny the sort of access we gave him against Wellington means he can hopefully he can retain his form and be selected for the All Blacks' northern hemisphere tour.
And there will still be an opportunity to see Sonny playing at AMI Stadium when we play Counties-Manukau - and that could result in him engaging in a titanic battle against his old Toulon team-mate and former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.
Meanwhile, matches against Otago have always been edgy affairs and we are conscious our form away from Christchurch can be improved and hope it all clicks when we square off at Carisbrook on Saturday evening.
Personally, I can vouch for having a few torrid encounters against Otago whenever Canterbury travelled to Dunedin.
It does not seem like 21 years ago, but our final NPC match, against Otago at Carisbrook in 1989, sticks in the memory; it was billed as the battle for South Island supremacy at the time and we trailed 19-3 at halftime before we cranked up the effort a notch or two and won 25-23.
Here's hoping we can breathe a bit easier this weekend.