Two wins in five weeks adds up to an unhappy end-of-season slump for the Crusaders.
Where once Super Rugby's standard-bearers seemed unstoppable, cracks are perhaps beginning to appear.
There are too many quality players in Scott Robertson's outfit for them not to respond this week in their final match, prior to a last-round bye, before the playoffs. A Rebels team that failed to repel the Waratahs in Melbourne are hardly the most daunting opponents but, then, many felt the same way about the Chiefs.
The Crusaders could then spend the remainder of the competition at home, keeping them installed favourites for a third successive crown.
But at the business end of the season, when every team wants to be finding form, there must be concerns circulating Crusaders country following a period that has featured a distinct lack of ruthlessness, and left the door ajar for the Hurricanes to steal top spot.
Nine points is probably too much ground for the Hurricanes to make up, even with a game in hand on the Crusaders, but Robertson will know the all-important top seeding should have been sealed long ago.
Over the past five weeks the Crusaders have managed one dominant performance in Pretoria. In that time they had two draws against South African opposition, one scrappy victory over the Blues, and last weekend's shock defeat to a struggling Chiefs side still missing Brodie Retallick.
Unresolved off-field issues stemming from the allegations levelled at several players from their recent tour of South Africa, and the potential name change, may be having a psychological impact. Distractions have a way of infiltrating the subconscious.
A travel schedule that's seen the Crusaders trek from the Republic to Christchurch and into the taxing Suva heat and humidity is also not easy.
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This is not a team that usually grasps at excuses, though.
Up 20-0 against the Chiefs, the Crusaders should never have lost from such a position of early strength.
Sure conditions were challenging but it was the same for both teams.
Defensively the Crusaders were exposed time and again by the offload and from turnovers. After their initial onslaught they conceded three tries in nine minutes to hold a one-point half-time lead.
Braydon Ennor's try after the break would, normally, prove the settling blow but it was the Chiefs who showed greater composure.
In the final, frantic quarter the Crusaders missed crucial tackles – Richie Mo'unga a guilty culprit for Brad Weber's try – and made a raft of uncharacteristic errors.
Ben Funnell fluffed a lineout. David Havili botched an offload. Kieran Read and Ennor misread each other on the edge. George Bower slipped off Shaun Stevenson on the inside ball for his telling try. Then, forced to chase a miracle play from their 22, Mo'unga and Read had their short restart plucked by Tumua Manu for the final nail.
For context, let's not forget the Crusaders thumped the Chiefs 57-28 earlier this year in Christchurch.
Have the Crusaders come back to the pack since then? Or will problems be swiftly resolved?
The odds remain stacked in Robertson's favour but this patchy run of form makes a three-peat not the sure thing it once appeared.
Anthony Joshua exposed
Tyson Fury is the world's best heavyweight.
That was my main takeaway from Andy Ruiz's stunning Anthony Joshua stoppage.
Anyone who watched Ruiz go toe-to-toe with Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO title back in December 2016 knew the deceivingly skilled Mexican with the quick hands and combinations would be a much tougher opponent for Joshua than American doper Jarrell Miller.
Had Parker-Ruiz been staged anywhere else in the world than Auckland, certainly America or Mexico, the result could well have been different.
After a slow start Parker got the better of Ruiz in the middle and later rounds but it was incredibly tight, and the volume generated by the parochial Kiwi crowd no doubt carried influence.
Heavyweight boxing, like no sport really, has a way of producing seismic underdog triumphs.
Ruiz's popped the hype train surrounding brand AJ.
Joshua sure can bang but we now know for sure a suspect chin sits atop his chiselled frame.
Ruiz is not a noted power puncher. Five of his last 10 wins came via decisions, and yet he was able to rise off the canvas and floor the static Joshua four times.
This brings us to Fury, another skilled heavyweight not known for power. Fury's ring craft, movement, inherent confidence and boxing knowledge sets him apart, though.
Fury was robbed in his controversial draw with Deontay Wilder last December and while the "Gypsy King" is unlikely to knockout Joshua, if they ever collide in a mega British bout, his slick skills could be enough to pick off points and outclass the dethroned champion.
If boxing was legit, and run by one overarching body with the sport's best interests at heart, Ruiz would now fight Wilder to unify the four coveted belts.
But this is, of course, a money game. Fast-talking Eddie Hearn was smart enough to include a rematch clause that should offer Joshua time to regroup, though there is a chance Ruiz may have to first satisfy mandatory defences.
While the top dogs duck and dive each other in the hope interest leads to inflation, Ruiz and his self-confessed love of Snickers reminded us all that hype isn't always what it seems.