A pair of rematches highlights the semifinal draw in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership, while Otago sit in the box seat in their quest for promotion from the Championship.
After the 10th and final round was completed today and all playoff places were confirmed, Canterbury remained on course to win their eighth provincial title in nine years, although their semifinal opponents have recent history of success against the red and blacks.
It's very recent, in fact. Counties Manukau upset Canterbury on Saturday to book their finals berth, but given the defending champions had already sealed top spot, only one team had anything at stake at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe.
That will be different at AMI Stadium next Sunday afternoon, where coach Scott Robertson's men will be confident of prolonging a season in which they lost just twice while recording the best attack and best defence in the competition.
If Canterbury clinch a home final, the unenviable task of toppling them will fall to either Taranaki or Tasman. And in a replay of the 2014 final won by the amber and blacks, favouritism will be tough to assign in the second semifinal.
Both teams completed the round robin with identical records of seven wins and a draw from their 10 matches and both will head into the encounter on a winning note, with Taranaki ending Auckland's season on Thursday night and Tasman thumping Southland today at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Taranaki will have home advantage next Sunday afternoon but the Makos emerged triumphant in the previous meeting between the sides, winning 25-20 in Nelson last month.
In the second tier, Otago and Wellington appear on a collision course to battle it out for promotion, with the two heavyweights earning home advantage for their semifinals.
Having shrugged off a late-season slump that featured their only three defeats of the season, Otago took top spot to set up an encounter with Bay of Plenty on Friday night, having beaten the Steamers by one point in round four.
Wellington, meanwhile, will have to overcome the disappointment of a late loss against Waikato that consigned them to second, set to face North Harbour on Saturday afternoon. The two teams previously met at the start of September, when Wellington first-five Jackson Garden-Bachop kicked seven penalties to seize a narrow victory.
In the Heartland Championship, the Meads Cup semifinals will see Wanganui host Wairarapa Bush and South Canterbury host Buller. And, in the Lochore Cup, Mid Canterbury will welcome North Otago while King Country will enjoy home advantage against Poverty Bay.
Mitre 10 Cup Premiership
Canterbury v Counties Manukau, AMI Stadium, Sunday 2.05pm.
Taranaki v Tasman, Yarrow Stadium, Sunday 4.35pm.
Mitre 10 Cup Championship
Otago v Bay of Plenty, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Friday 7.35pm.
Wellington v North Harbour, Westpac Stadium, Saturday 2.35pm.
Wanganui v Wairarapa Bush, Saturday 2.30pm.
South Canterbury v Buller, Saturday 2.30pm.
Mid Canterbury v North Otago, Saturday 2.30pm.
King Country v Poverty Bay, Saturday 2.30pm.