The Brumbies' decision to rest over half their team in their last round-robin match could come back to haunt them in the finals according to Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd.
The only Australian side to make the Super Rugby finals sat out 12 players in their 28-10 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday, in the hope they could keep their cards close to their chest for an expected rematch in the first week of the finals.
However, the Hurricanes' upset win over the previously unbeaten Crusaders sealed second spot in the New Zealand conference, setting up a trip to Canberra for the defending champions.
"I thought it was really interesting that I saw an interview with a Brumbies player that said they didn't want to show their hand because they'd be playing the Chiefs the following week so it was a bit of cat and mouse," Boyd said.
"I was also interested that the Chiefs said the same thing, I don't know what that will do for their momentum."
The result changed the Chiefs travel plans from a short hop across the Tasman to a long-haul trip to Cape Town where they'll face the Stormers.
The scenario - which would have played out in reverse had the Hurricanes lost to the Crusaders - offers an otherwise easier week for the Canes who will potentially be boosted by the return of skipper Dane Coles.
The Brumbies also hold no fears for the Hurricanes after they defeated the Aussie outfit 56-21 in their round robin match back in April.
Conversely, the Crusaders face a considerably tougher prospect in hosting the Highlanders, as opposed to the Sharks who they would have played if they'd beaten the Hurricanes.
Typically a man of many words, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was careful with his criticism of the finals format - reflective over the fact his team entered the weekend 14-0 but faced a must-win fixture in their final match of the season to face an easier road to the final.
"If it was fair, they wouldn't be changing the format of Super Rugby [next year] would they?" Robertson mused.
The first match of the playoffs will be the Brumbies Hurricanes clash in Canberra on Friday night at 9.35pm (NZT).