Travelling south to tackle the Highlanders in Dunedin tonight is hardly how Dave Rennie drew up the Chiefs' playoff plans. But it certainly beats the alternative.
"We'd obviously like to be having a week off and watching quarter-finals," the coach said. "But to be a part of the playoffs is where you want to be. There's nine teams on the booze this week, and we're still going."
The former pub owner would have appreciated that extra revenue in a former life but Rennie is much happier in his current position, even if that means meeting a team that conquered his own on two occasions this season.
The second of those triumphs - a 36-9 drubbing in Invercargill - resembled more of a pillaging in its brutality and ensuring the High-landers would enjoy home advantage for tonight's knockout clash.
That's a luxury Rennie knows all too well, after riding a Waikato Stadium stronghold en route to a pair of titles in his first two seasons in Hamilton.
But facing a repeat trip to the deep south with their playoff lives on the line, Rennie thinks little about that one-sided affair in Invercargill will carry across to the quarter-final.
"It probably gives them confidence but it's about the 80 minutes [tonight]," Rennie said.
"Obviously we're going to have to be a bit better than we have been over our previous encounters."
But Rennie insisted confidence would also be the over-riding feeling among his charges, with the coach pleased about the personnel available and assured he possessed the gameplan needed to turn the tables from the round-robin thumping.
In part victims of their own demise that night, the Chiefs were found wanting in their handling and lacked a kicking game to alleviate constant pressure the Highlanders piled on inside the opposition 22.
The Chiefs have overhauled their backline in the build-up to tonight's showdown and, although the selection was as much about injuries as anything, with players returning and departing in equal measure, Rennie felt his side were ready to enact a multi-faceted approach.
"We just want to kick smart," he said. "So if it's on to kick, we want to kick, and if it's on to go, we want to go. But we've certainly looked at opportunities of where we can kick, we think, and find a bit of space.
"We didn't do it very well last time but there's no reason why we can't do well this week.
"But the key is to do it well up front and put ourselves in the position where we've got a couple of choices, whether to carry or whether to kick. Then it's about playing."
Of course, the Highlanders also hold a handy reputation for being able to play with ball in hand. And with a shift indoors at Forsyth Barr Stadium creating a dry ball and an increased opportunity to unleash their potent backline, the southern side are hardly about to precisely match the formula that dismantled the visitors' defence three weeks previous.
"It'll be a bit different, I think," Rennie said. "No doubt they'll kick and they'll try to put a bit of pressure on us, but I think they'll want to play. They play a really up-tempo game."
The Chiefs share that trait when at their best and tonight's match-up could provide the best example yet of the wisdom of erecting the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof. Rennie would certainly enjoy the occasion but he was equally determined to keep his players away from the booze for another week, at least.
"Everyone talks about excitement, and I am," he said. "There's a bit of a spring in the step."