Let's not sidestep the issue here – until the Chiefs beat the Reds in Hamilton last month they were an on-field shambles. Hurt by injuries and an apparent inability to follow a game plan, they had the second-worst defence in the competition and were on target to finish as New Zealand's worst team.
Now they are potentially a win over the Rebels away from qualifying for the quarter-finals (they need a couple of favours, including the need for the Stormers to beat the Sharks in Cape Town, too, but given the men from Durban have to make the trip there from a bad loss to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, that has a high probability of happening).
How did they turn it all around? How did they go from a nightmare run of losses at the start of the season, including home defeats to the Sunwolves and Lions, to winning the occasional match and losing the next, to being a couple of favourable results away from the finals?
Brad Weber is one factor. The halfback has been inspirational for the Chiefs with his leadership and ability to spark an attack.
But I would argue Sam Cane's return from his broken neck has been even more significant. One of Richie McCaw's greatest qualities was his ability to get his team over the line through his force of will and fellow openside Cane is increasingly showing that he has something similar.
Cane made his return from that horrendous injury suffered last year during the Chiefs defeat to the Blues at Eden Park nearly four weeks ago, but they've won both games he has started since, including that match against the Reds at Waikato Stadium that visiting coach Brad Thorn is still wondering how they lost such was the attacking dominance his men enjoyed. Cane played the first 49 minutes of that.
They had no right to beat the Crusaders in Suva either after being 20-0 down after the first quarter. Cane played the full 80 minutes there, a performance which would have struck a chord with many rugby people around the world given where he was prepared to put his previously very vulnerable body.
Certainly, it did with Blues coach Leon MacDonald. "Sam Cane's leadership showed immensely," he said a few days later. "It shows how influential certain players can be on and off the field."
So, they have a couple of key inspirational figures and the belief and knowledge they can now get through just about any game scenario. They also have the not inconsiderable figure of Brodie Retallick returning from eight weeks out with a wrist injury.
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Now as fit and fresh as he has been for a long time – a point that bodes well for the All Blacks later in the year – Retallick is determined to throw his weight around in Melbourne on Friday.
The big lock was an interested bystander in Suva and would have played last week but for the Chiefs' bye and his comeback after watching a couple of unlikely victories could serve to tip the balance.
"Against the Reds we made an outrageous number of tackles – I think it was 230-something," Retallick said. "Against the Crusaders, to come back from 20-0 after 20 minutes and show that fight - there's no question about the heart or commitment in this team."
He also succinctly put into context how important Cane's return has been for the Chiefs, a team that looked to be going nowhere but now are being dragged upwards by a 60-test 27-year-old who knows he could have lost it all but who has somehow put it all behind him.
"He's been massive the last couple of games – especially against the Crusaders," Retallick said. "For someone to come back from an injury like that and be as physical and put his head in and win turnovers like that … it's a huge effort not only physically but also mentally."