After seeing his side let two games slip from their grasp in the past two weeks, Chiefs coach Ian Foster hopes last night's win might just be a turning point.

The Super 14 table would look very different from a Chiefs point of view had they managed to see off the Crusaders and Brumbies in the past fortnight but Foster is at least thankful his charges seem to be learning from their mistakes. Three in a row, and he might have been found lying on one of Gilbert Enoka's special reclining couches.

"The last two games have hurt us, not so much to lose but to lose two close games," he explained. "To win this game is mentally important for us. When you come off two, pretty tight, gut-wrenching games, to win one that went down to the wire... showed we learned a big lesson from the last two games.

"Our challenge is now to put another one on the board."

The first assignment will be against the Bulls, who suffered the rare ignominy of going down to the Blues on Friday night. But, as Foster pointed out, they are still ahead of his side on the all-important table.

Winning is what the Highlanders need to do for the rest of the season. It was a pragmatic Greg Cooper who contemplated his side's predicament as they are left counting the steps on the ladder they will need to climb to pull themselves into the playoffs.

But Cooper will take a stoic Southern Man approach to his side's final five games.

"We obviously have to win all of those games [to make the semifinals]," Highlanders coach Cooper said.

"But I think rugby has to be bigger than that, we also have to respect who we play for.

"While the playoffs are there, it's also a matter of doing justice to the jersey, the region and your team-mates as well."

-HERALD ON SUNDAY