The dream of a pair of all-Kiwi semifinals has been denied but there still appears a good chance a New Zealand side will eventually claim the Super Rugby title.
After the Crusaders and Chiefs experienced mixed fortunes in South Africa overnight, the semifinals have been set for the debut season of the expanded competition.
The top-qualifying Hurricanes will next weekend host the Chiefs in Wellington, while the defending champion Highlanders will travel to Johannesburg for an encounter with the Lions.
Kiwi fans had hoped this country's dominance would set up a couple of semifinal clashes on these shores, but the Crusaders were denied a spot in the final four by an impressive Lions outfit.
Todd Blackadder's reign as Crusaders coach came to a disappointing end with a 42-25 defeat, finding the task too difficult after last week's loss to the Hurricanes sent them on the road.
Listen: Radio Sport talk to Dave Hewett following Crusaders loss
The Chiefs, on the other hand, had no such problems in Cape Town, demolishing the Stormers 60-21 in an outstanding attacking effort.
Dave Rennie's team must now travel to the capital and face a Hurricanes outfit in irrepressible form, following their win over the Crusaders with an equally comprehensive 41-0 shutout of the Sharks on Saturday night.
Chasing their first Super Rugby title, the Hurricanes will have to overturn the 28-27 defeat they suffered against the Chiefs at the Cake Tin in April, a memorable game that sets the stage for a mouthwatering knockout match.
If the Hurricanes can claim victory, the final will be in Wellington. If the Chiefs emerge triumphant, they will be playing away in the competition showpiece. And the team standing in the opposite corner will be determined on Sunday morning at Ellis Park.
The Highlanders dispatched the Lions 34-15 in March, but that result came with the benefit of home advantage. This time they will be on the road, continuing an arduous travel schedule that could eventually catch up to them.
Jamie Joseph's men have in recent weeks gone from South Africa to Argentina to New Zealand to Australia, where they beat the Brumbies 15-9 on Friday night. But heading back to the Republic, they will be determined to defend their title and potentially setting up a replay of last year's decider against the Hurricanes.
It all makes for a highly-anticipated weekend of rugby, one that could very easily culminate with an all-Kiwi final.
Super Rugby semifinals
Hurricanes v Chiefs (Wellington)
Lions v Highlanders (Johannesburg)