This year, with so many close wins and upsets it's been intriguing for fans to predict the final six teams. With the exception of the Sharks, the middle of the table has been keenly fought over, and after 15 rounds only six points separate ninth place from second.
After losses over the weekend for the Chiefs and Brumbies, they've been bumped out of the top six, after both teams have spent significant time in the top three positions this year.
Looking at the Australian teams, there are three teams in with a chance of making finals rugby, but it's likely only two will make it. The Waratahs are probably the best placed Australian team to hold that crucial top six position; with four more games to go starting with the Chiefs, then the Brumbies, Highlanders and Reds.
The Waratahs are full of Wallabies, and Israel Folau is by far the standout outside back in the Australian competition, they should finish on top of the Australia conference. If the Sydney team beat the Brumbies, my guess is that the Brumbies season will be over, as they also have a bye, so every game for them is a must win, even after their great start to the season.
The Force are in fourth spot at the moment, however they face the in-form Crusaders in Christchurch which is a tough assignment for any team if you're to go by the reaction of the Sharks when they beat the Crusaders two weeks ago.
The Force will have need to beat the Reds and Blues after that and their last game is against the Brumbies, who may be out of the race by then, but if not it could be a season defining game.
New Zealand Teams
As a Kiwi rugby fan, it looks possible that three Kiwi teams will make the top six. In the Kiwi conference only 3 points separate the top four teams, so from here on bonus points will be essential, and the local derbies between kiwi teams will be huge in order to keep playoff hopes alive and to leap frog one another.
The Blues are as good as gone, but they could still be a thorn in the other's side. The Hurricane backline looked unstoppable in the weekend against the Chiefs, but unfortunately the Wellington team are badly placed with one less game than the other three having a bye in the last round.
The Hurricanes face the Blues next round in Auckland, and then the Crusaders at home and if they make it that far the Chiefs are their last game who will likely be in a different mood to the team who showed nothing this weekend gone.
The Chiefs are at the moment out of the top six, but the two-time defending champions will look to bounce back against the Waratahs at home, and they'll fancy their chances against the Blues, Highlanders and Hurricanes, for a late charge.
The Highlanders were unlucky to lose an epic game of running rugby against the Crusaders last weekend, and they'll get a chance for revenge in the last round. However the Highlanders have a tough game in Sydney against the Waratahs to come, the lowly Reds shouldn't stop them and then the Chiefs will be dangerous.
The Crusaders are the best placed being one point clear of the other three, and still waiting on Keiran Read to add some grunt in the final stages, however they're still in danger of being overtaken if they lose. They'll need to beat the Force at home, Hurricanes away, and the Highlanders back home for a rematch which should be another South Island spectacle.
South African Teams
To the South African conference, where the Sharks are by far a sure thing considering their stellar performances on the road winning three out of four games. They have some easy teams at home to come, and they'll be looking to retain that top spot on the table for home advantage come the playoffs, even if they slip up in South Africa in their last three games, they're untouchable at the moment under the coaching brilliance of Jake White.
The Bulls are an outside chance in ninth position it seems, but in reality they're a dark horse looking for a late charge and they could just squeak in. Like the Hurricanes and Sharks they have one less game than the others in the top 6 but they don't play any teams inside the top six; they have the Lions and Stormers away and then the Rebels at home.
The teams that can win 3 of the last four games should be in with a chance, but it's do or die, and it should make for some very thrilling viewing.
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