Dylan Cleaver preview all this week's Super 15 action and the key talking points.
1. Game of the week
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Referee: Mark Lawrence
TAB: Hurricanes $1.50 Brumbies $2.45
There's a lot to like about the way the Hurricanes have battled back late to beat the Blues and Highlanders away from home.
They play with an underdog spirit but that can be counter-productive when playing at home.
It would be nice to see the Hurricanes attack the depleted Brumbies from the outset as if they were trying to put 40 points on them, not as if they want to hang with them to give themselves a chance in the final 20 minutes.
To that end, resting the brilliant young talent Beauden Barrett might not be such a great idea, though Bradley Shields gets a start at No 6.
2. Blues' succesion plan
More left-field suggestions to replace Pat Lam.
Pat Lam - he's 1-0 since getting sacked. So let's sack him every week.
John Key - shares with Lam a distaste for the Herald and diminishing year-on-year returns.
Mark Anscombe - has a keen handle on the issues of the day at the Blues.
3. Money ball
Herald betting analyst Michael Guerin searches for weekly gems.
The Reds fanbase in New Zealand could hold their meetings in the back seat of a Mini but that could be about to change.
The Brissy boys have emerged as one of the best bets of the season as they are remarkably still $2.40 with the TAB to win the Australian conference.
That makes them the outsider in a two-horse race against the Brumbies ($1.65), but the Reds showed when counter-punching the Chiefs last week they are back big time.
They also got wonder-clown Quade Cooper back this week for what should be a bonus-point game against the Lions.
That would have them snapping at the heels of the depleted Brumbies, who have to get past the Hurricanes tonight, before the pair clash next week.
With the Brumbies having the slightly tougher run home, and the Reds still having a bye in the bank, they could be $1.20 to win their conference by the international break, so the $2.40 is a great bet.
Last Friday Moneyball mentioned the benefits of live betting on games at about the right time. At different stages of the Reds-Chief rollercoaster on Sunday you could have backed both team at $8 with Betfair, a huge guaranteed profit.
4. Stat attack
Tries conceded by the Chiefs in first nine matches: 8
Tries conceded by Chiefs in past fortnight: 8
5. Advance Australia
There is suddenly life in the AC, with the Reds and Brumbies possibilities to make it into the post-season.
That does not detract from the fact it is, by a distance, the weakest conference.
Don't be fooled by the Rebels shock win against the Crusaders.
They're still ordinary, which is a pithy assessment you could also apply to the Waratahs and Force.
6. Say what?
"It certainly wasn't from me. Someone played a joke. I had a group of people here ... my phone is always in the kitchen and someone sent something, which I quickly jumped on to. It was an embarrassing situation. Someone thought they were playing a prank over a few beers. Obviously, I didn't see the humour in it. I texted Pat immediately." - Mark Anscombe confirms to Truth that a racist text was sent from his phone, but not by him.