With the exception of the Sharks out in front, the table is looking very congested this year, and the coming weeks will sort out who can consolidate their position, or be left stranded in the middle of the pack.
Last year's winners the Chiefs are finding it tough to play 80 minutes of winning rugby in one go, either starting or finishing well, but not both. Meanwhile the ever-consistent and dangerous Crusaders full of All Blacks seem to be showing signs they're just warming up.
The Western Force tripped up last round, but they add some sting to the Australian conference, which is usually only a three horse race.
The South African conference table has the largest spread with the lowly Cheetahs sitting on one win and one draw from nine games. This is well off the pace from the leading Sharks who are six points clear at the top of the overall ladder: six points being tied for the largest margin between any two teams in the competition.
However, the Sharks who are the closest thing to a playoff 'sure thing' have six of their last nine games away from home, and they will play the giant killing Rebels, the clever Brumbies, resurgent Crusaders and Blues all on the road.
Luckily in their favour they finish the season with games against the Cheetahs and Stormers in South Africa who claim the bottom spots in the competition.
It's too soon to write off any Australian or New Zealand teams just yet, although the Blues and Reds are more than likely going to be the 'better luck next season' teams.
Both the Reds and Blues, sit on 16 points at least a win away from catching up to the log jam in the low 20's, and they both play each other in a couple of weeks.
The Australian table is led by the Brumbies, but is much like the New Zealand conference in that only nine points separates the leaders from the cellar dwellers.
There have been upsets all season, with the Rebels and Force punching well above their historic weight, with the Force the most surprising package this year, showing grit and stamina to beat the Highlanders away and the Chiefs at home, followed up by wins over the Reds and Waratahs.
Only two points separate the top three teams in the Australian conference, while in the Kiwi conference four points separate the top three as the Hurricanes have just beaten the Blues in a blow-out win in Wellington last round.
My predictions as to who will make a move in that top six: If the Sharks can travel well, winning even 50 percent of their games on the road, they'll undoubtedly be a top three finisher.
I think the Bulls will be hard to keep out of the top six, as they arguably have the best run home of any team, playing the Stormers twice, the Cheetahs, Lions, Rebels and Waratahs at home in Pretoria.
The Kiwi teams are yet to play many Australian teams, with the next few weeks full of trans-Tasman clashes sure to sort out the final order where the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Chiefs, will look to leapfrog the Waratahs, Brumbies and Force, and vice versa.
Out of those six teams, two are likely to be relegated to the middle of the pack for good after the next three rounds, with the Bulls looking good to claim a top six spot.
In the Australian top three, the Force could well pip either the Waratahs or Brumbies at the post, and the clash in round 17 when the Waratahs host the Brumbies could decide who comes third.
I think the Force may well scrape through, as they have the easiest South African teams to play on their road trip to the Republic, with the Stormers and Cheetahs.They then host the Reds, Blues and Lions at home, who could all be done for the season when they arrive in Perth.
And you can't write off the honey badger effect that Nick Cummings is having on the Perth franchise.
The Hurricanes have a crucial bye for their last game of the season which means they need to finish in a healthy position in the penultimate round. They play the Chiefs twice, the Crusaders and then Waratahs in Sydney, which could well be a decider.
I can't see the Chiefs and Crusaders finishing badly with their coaching staff and quality players, so are likely to make up the top six if history is anything to go by.
The Rebels are in the same boat as the Blues and Reds, with some must-win games to come, and need some luck while in South Africa at the end of the season to have any chance.
The Highlanders take a tough road trip to South Africa over the next few weeks; they play the Sharks, Stormers, then Lions away, and they finish with the Crusaders, Chiefs and Waratahs which is no easy run home!
A likely top six at the end of the season should see the Bulls move on in, knocking out one of the Kiwi or Aussie teams.
As I said at the start, it's possible for any team at this halfway mark to make it, but it is very interesting to see who has the best run home.
I think the teams who will make it are the ones with some points in the bank already, and the ones that know how to win the crucial games at the death.
This last round saw an epic battle in the rain with the Chiefs hosting the Crusaders, and one of these two is my pick to face the Sharks in the final.
Brad Mills enjoys the outdoors and almost any sport... For a day job he's a journalist who works at the Rhema Media in Auckland New Zealand.
Brad Mill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/brad-mills.html