While the finals equation is not settled mathematically, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd is expecting the Brumbies to take up the Australian knockout spot.
The Hurricanes secured their finals place with a win over the Waratahs and would travel to Australia for their quarter-final if they finish second in the New Zealand conference.
Both the Brumbies and Waratahs are in the mix for the Australian conference lead but the ACT side controls the situation, on equal points with their northern rivals but one victory ahead.
The Waratahs can jump into the only Australian finals spot with a win over the Blues in Auckland if the Brumbies lose to the Force in Canberra or if they claim a bonus-point victory and the Brumbies don’t clinch the extra point against the Force.
Boyd said he expected the Australian quarter-final to be in Canberra in a fortnight, a trip he believed would be difficult for anyone.
“There’s definitely going to be a quarter-final in Australia,” he said.
“Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be in Canberra, there’ll be probably two in Africa and one in New Zealand.
“No idea where we’re going but we’re going somewhere.”
While New Zealand teams have been dominant over Australian sides this season, with 21 wins from 14 matches, the Hurricanes opened their account with a 52-10 loss in Canberra.
Boyd said his charges wouldn’t be intimidated by the prospect of heading to the site of that defeat again.
“They gave us a pretty good pasting in that round one but I watched the Blues have a particularly good performance last night against the Brumbies,” he said.
“We’d just beaten the Blues the week before and been pasted by the Brumbies by a considerable margin.
“Any day it still holds that any team can prevail.”
As for New Zealand’s record against Aussie teams this season, Boyd said there wasn’t really an obvious reason for the
“That’s a bit lopsided isn’t it?,” he said.
“I think that the New Zealand conference is healthy at the moment...they’re all good balanced sides in my opinion."