When you start thinking about fallout from the Lions, the biggest casualties out of that tour and the subsequent break in Super Rugby would have to be the Crusaders.

Before the Lions arrived, the Crusaders were undefeated, riding the momentum of a huge winning streak and playing some great rugby.

Since, the Crusaders have lost to the tourists and now the Hurricanes too.

It has been a real jolt to them, not only in terms of lost momentum, but also their fall from the top position of the Super Rugby standings and a possible home final, with the Lions beating the Sharks to take that billing.


There's always a window where there's a break for tours like the Lions and it does have an effect, whether it's through All Blacks coming back injured or carrying heavy workloads.

Or, as has happened with the Crusaders, it can have quite an effect on a team in a bad way or for other teams in a good way.

But what a mouthwatering quarter-final it has set up between the Crusaders and the Highlanders in Christchurch.

If we think back to their last round-robin game, when the Lions were already here, and that last-minute dropped goal by Mitch Hunt to secure a win for the Crusaders, that was a great advertisement for rugby.

Now we're lucky enough to have a repeat of that game, where two teams that put on such a great performance in round-robin play will face each other again in a do-or-die situation.

With plenty of All Blacks on show, these two teams certainly wanted to use the ball against each other last time round, but are now in a situation where they are playing to stay in the competition.

That's something that many may have thought could happen later in the playoffs, but that's not the way the regular season standings have played out.

Of course, there are other games that have also worked out favourably. The Hurricanes win means they only have to go to Canberra, which I'm sure they prefer to travelling to South Africa.

Now, the Chiefs face the prospect of having to win there and their title hopes again become a little travel-affected.

All the New Zealand teams will be looking with great interest at how the Lions perform, because with them finishing on top, if they continue to win, the others face the prospect of going to South Africa to win a title.

It's never easy going to altitude with a short turnaround and travel incorporated, so over the next couple of weeks, it will be intriguing to see how this competition pans out.

There will be upsets, there will be drama, but I think we have ended up with a really mouthwatering finals series.