There has been a quiet confidence within the Crusaders that their season is anything but over, but the results at the weekend have made their playoff dream a more realistic one.
Their eight-try, 58-17 thrashing of a poor Reds team in Christchurch on Friday started things off nicely and they would have been in even better spirits yesterday after hearing that the Highlanders and the Waratahs lost in what must be considered upset results.
After leading the Lions 20-3 at Ellis Park, the Highlanders slumped to a 28-23 defeat, with the defending champion Waratahs losing 18-11 to the Force in Perth.
It was the second time the Waratahs have lost to the Force this season - both of the Western Australia team's victories this year have come against the men from Sydney and surrounds.
The Lions and Rebels are just outside the top six, but will be expected to falter as the season grinds on. The Bulls, in sixth place, have yet to embark on their tour Downunder and they are notoriously poor travellers. The Crusaders are ninth, but are only three points away from the Bulls.
It all makes good reading for Crusaders supporters, yet their team can't afford to drop any more games and after their bye next weekend, a pivotal match is looming against the Waratahs in Sydney, a replay of last year's final.
Asked afterwards about that match, Richie McCaw said: "It would have been nice to get straight into it after tonight's performance, but we'll get a positive out of that [Reds' victory]. There are four games left and we are by no means out of it. We've got to keep believing and put the hard work in, go over there and ... reproduce the things that made tonight work. If we can do that, we give ourselves a chance."
Coach Todd Blackadder, however, believes his team's bye has come at the right time.
"I know the players are looking forward to a week off," he said. "It's been nine weeks on the trot. It's a good opportunity to get a recharge and be ready in a couple of weeks."
Reassuringly for the Crusaders, several of their players are coming into form including, significantly, Dan Carter and they are about to get a whole host of players back from injury, including fullback Israel Dagg and possibly midfielder Robbie Fruean.
Colin Slade's form at No10 is ensuring Carter remains at second five rather than in his preferred position, but Carter showed against the Reds in what was probably his last game for the Crusaders in Christchurch that he is nearing his best.
Carter has been told to play with freedom and to empty his energy tank, rather than worrying about saving himself for later in the Super Rugby competition, or even the All Blacks, and that advice appears to be working.
His break in the second half when he burst through two defenders and looped an offload to Nemani Nadolo for Matt Todd's try was the confident and powerful Carter of old.