NSW coach Michael Cheika's strong friendship with Brian O'Driscoll could result in the duo reuniting at the Waratahs but the former Leinster mentor says it won't happen at the expense of home grown talent.
Reports in the British press have again linked the Ireland captain to a possible move to Australia when his current contract ends in June next year.
O'Driscoll won the 2009 Heineken Cup under Cheika and has spoken to him of his desire to play Super Rugby in Australia.
With the Waratahs struggling on the field - they finished 2012 with a record eight straight losses - and battling for media coverage off it, Cheika acknowledges O'Driscoll is the type of player to lift the performances and profile of the franchise.
It's something South African recruit Sarel Pretorius failed to do for the Waratahs, the halfback enduring an ordinary one-season stint before being cut at the end of the 2012 competition.
Cheika said NSW would only consider signing the former British and Irish Lions skipper if his recruitment didn't interfere with the Waratahs development program.
"Obviously I know Brian very well and it is no secret that he is one of a number of top players over there who would love to come down and play in the Super 15," Cheika told AAP on Wednesday.
"It would be a big decision for him to leave Ireland - and being NSW and having a big catchment area of players our priority is to develop from within.
Cheika took over from Michael Foley as Waratahs coach last month on a three-year deal. The Waratahs began their pre-season training in Sydney on Wednesday but Cheika said he had not spoken to O'Driscoll since taking the reins of NSW.
"I saw him before I left - I went to say goodbye. But we haven't spoken since," he said.
"I wouldn't want to do that to him or the club. He is in the middle of a season, the Heineken Cup is still on and they are focusing on that.
"It is still my club and it is very close to me and I would not want to disrupt their season. That is Brian saying how he feels about things and what he might like to do.
"It would be a big decision for him to leave Ireland but the thought is there with all the top players - there is no doubt about that.
"If we did do that we would go for a top player, a player who has done it at Test level."