Next summer's Lions tour to New Zealand will be at the back of most players' minds this season but Leicester star Geordan Murphy has more reason than most to be cautious over what the future holds.
The Ireland full-back is a certainty for the tour and a likely Test starter if he hits anything like the form which has seen him earn a reputation as one of the most dangerous runners in world rugby.
But events of one year ago when he was cruelly ruled out of the World Cup after sustaining a broken leg during a warm-up match for the tournament will not be far from the 25-year-old's mind.
Murphy was destined to be one of the stars of the competition in Australia only for his World Cup dream to be shattered by an injury which wrecked much of his season and denied Ireland one of their most dangerous weapons.
He would be desperately unlucky to endure a similar fate with a coveted place on the Lions tour within his grasp but the Tigers flyer refuses to look beyond performing for Leicester over the coming months.
"I haven't given much thought to the Lions. Every player wants to turn out in the red jersey - it's the next step of representative rugby after getting picked for your national team," he said.
"I would love to play for them but it's not worth thinking about at this stage because a lot can happen between now and then.
"I know first hand how things can change because two weeks before the Ireland squad for the World Cup was announced I was thinking I was there but then I broke my leg. You just have to concentrate on the bread and butter stuff for your club."
Murphy admitted after his rehabilitation that he endured some dark moments but a combination of expert medical attention and his own determination saw him back playing ahead of schedule.
He resumed competitive action for Leicester as a substitute against London Irish in February, his return coinciding with a magnificent run of form for the Tigers which saw the club go unbeaten for the rest of the campaign.
Murphy was also swiftly reintroduced to the Ireland set-up, playing against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations before appearing against Scotland a week later in a match which saw Eddie O'Sullivan's men take the Triple Crown.
"It was a horrible year for me in many ways, but it wasn't all bad. I broke my leg and missed the World Cup but I was lucky in that I had fantastic medical treatment," he said.
"With a bit of hard work I was able to get back playing just six months after suffering the injury which is pretty good.
"I did well to get back for the end of the season and my reward was playing in the Triple Crown game against Scotland. Helping Leicester on their run at the end of the season was fantastic as well.
"The season was supposed to be a write-off for me, so looking on the bright side of it worked out a lot better than it could have done."
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.