Patrick McKendry ranks the country's biggest movers, after the latest round of Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa.
1. Chiefs (up 2)
(Beat Highlanders 26-23, record: 3-2)
The old joke about waiting for a bus may apply here. Regardless, the Chiefs belatedly did the job in Dunedin and are now genuine final contenders along with the Crusaders and Blues.
Biggest mystery: Whether they can keep this roll on because while they were in control of the match for three quarters of it, the wheels began to come off when they gave up 10 points in less than 14 minutes at the end. The Highlanders were well off their game and the Chiefs should have made them pay in regulation time. Ill discipline let the home side back in.
Problems on the horizon: The Chiefs face the Crusaders on Saturday.
Special mention: Tupou Vaa'i. New Zealand has half a dozen locks in good form at the moment – Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Mitchell Dunshea, Pari Pari Parkinson and Patrick Tuipulotu, and Vaa'i, who made his All Blacks debut last year, is one of them.
Crusaders (up 4)
(Beat Hurricanes 30-27, record: 5-1)
Another strangely disjointed performance from the Crusaders in Wellington after their dismal effort in the loss to the Highlanders in Christchurch.
But probably more speed wobbles than wheels coming off as they remain on target to qualify for a home final.
The Hurricanes clearly targeted the breakdown and did well there but in the end David Havili's extremely cool finish in front of the posts got them home.
Biggest mystery: Where their early season form has gone because the uncharacteristic mistakes and hesitancy is stopping their attacking flow, although Richie Mo'unga was in more commanding form this weekend. The Hurricanes also nullified the red and blacks' famous scrum power.
Problems on the horizon: Injuries to prop Joe Moody (foot) and midfielder Jack Goodhue (knee) mean Scott Robertson's vaunted deep squad will be used to its fullest at the business end of the season. Fortunately for Moody, his side got the win, otherwise the post-match presentation of his mere on the occasion of his 100th game would have been extremely flat.
Special mention: Dunshea. Casually drummed his fingers on the dugout roof as he waited to enter the game for the final quarter but his impact belied his apparent relaxed state. He was extremely direct during regulation time and made the crucial charge down in extra-time to set up the attacking phase for Havili's winning dropped goal.
Hurricanes (up 1)
(Lost to Crusaders 27-30, record:1-5)
They're close, and skipper Ardie Savea couldn't have given more, but the Hurricanes' horror run continues.
This was a vastly improved defensive effort against the Crusaders and their pack stood up superbly. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of their lineout.
Biggest mystery: Whether they can pick up another win this season and avoid the wooden spoon. After their bye they play the Chiefs in Hamilton and then host the Highlanders.
Problems on the horizon: Savea played on with a knee injury and continued to do near miraculous things at the breakdown despite being in discomfort. The Hurricanes cannot afford to lose him - nor can the All Blacks for that matter with Sam Cane already out for four to six months.
Special mention: Savea has been a fixture in this area for the entire competition - but his mate Dane Coles deserves the final word, as is his wont. The lineout was a shambles but he can't shoulder all the blame for that, and he was a huge factor around the ruck in the Hurricanes' excellent start.
Blues (down 2)
The Blues would have been hoping for a Hurricanes win over the Crusaders to keep the door open for them to host a final.
Alas for them, the Hurricanes and Chiefs, it wasn't to be.
The Blues remain second, eight points behind the Crusaders and with a game in hand; they're still in the hunt but the red and blacks will have to collapse to miss out on the big show in Christchurch.
Biggest mystery: Whether they can finish the season as well as they started it. If they hold it together they're in with a good chance because all teams have fluctuated in terms of form over the last fortnight.
Problems on the horizon: Another mystery – few teams have fluctuated like the Highlanders recently. Will they front up in Dunedin against the Blues? They tend to thrive on adversity.
Special mention: This is a big week for Akira Ioane, who is being challenged by Tom Robinson for the No 6 jersey. No 8 Hoskins Sotutu and No 7 Dalton Papalii appear certainties if they are fit and available.
Highlanders (down 4)
(Lost to Chiefs 23-26, record: 2-4)
A rude awakening for the Highlanders, who turned in an error-ridden performance against the Hurricanes but may have won it had Mitch Hunt been a bit more accurate with his boot.
In the end the Chiefs deserved their golden-point victory. Tony Brown has already conceded his team won't be in the final.
Biggest mystery: Maybe they need another party to put them on track for the Blues?
Problems on the horizon: How to find the required level of intensity for their two remaining matches.
Special mention: Shannon Frizell. Another compelling performance from the loose forward, and his try off a short ball from Bryn Evans was a peach, as was James Lentjes' off a planned lineout move for that matter.