The stars are aligning for the Hurricanes to come home with a wet sail, as they did in their rousing 2016 playoffs run.
Dane Coles will play a part off the bench in Friday night's quarter-final against the Brumbies in Canberra, Beauden Barrett has bounced back from an infection, and centre Vince Aso could be a starter if his groin niggle heals in time. Their All Blacks, other than Barrett senior, did not have a heavy Lions series workload, while lock Sam Lousi gave his most prominent display yet with 13 carries, three defenders beaten, four lineouts won and three turnovers. That was up against an All Blacks' second-row pairing in the Hurricanes' highly creditable and confidence-building 31-22 win over the Crusaders, which allowed them to sleep in on Sunday morning.
"Often in playoffs rugby it is pretty ugly. You can't always play the way you want to play, sometimes you have to resort to the trenches, but we were right up for that fight, which is really important," says Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree.
The Hurricanes should take New Zealand sides to 26-0 for the season over their Australian counterparts on Friday night. They will stay in Canberra for another day and a half waiting on the outcome of the Lions v Sharks clash. If that goes to form, they will then continue on to Johannesburg seeking to keep their titles hopes alive in the semifinal. If the Sharks spring a monumental upset over the top qualifiers, then they will head to Wellington to face the Hurricanes.
But Plumtree says his old team the Sharks owe him one as the Hurricanes' win against the Crusaders saw the Durbanites avoid the long haul to Christchurch. Plumtree himself knows how taxing the long haul is during the playoffs, as his 2012 Sharks fell to the Chiefs in the decider after travelling from Brisbane to Cape Town to Hamilton.
Unsurprisingly, they were spent for the biggest game of the year.
"You don't have your 30 players at training, which is a big part of our preparation. You are down to 25. I don't think this competition has been won from a (long) travelling side, so that is the challenge for a team to kick on and win it back in New Zealand, potentially."
Lock Mark Abbott, who rolled his sleeves up in typical fashion against the Crusaders, making 13 tackles, was in chipper mood.
"Travelling can be quite difficult. It depends on whether player gets enough sleep, but that's part of the challenge. You can't expect to have it all your way every season. But Friday night will be tough in Canberra," Abbott says.
Momentum entering the playoffs is always welcome and with a rousing 31-all draw against the Lions and a comeback win over the New Zealand conference champions after they had led 12-0, the Hurricanes have it.
They fly out tomorrow for Canberra.