As the Blues and Chiefs find their feet in the 2019 Super Rugby, their players continue to rise up the individual power rankings and push for international recognition later in the year.
Sure, the Crusaders were at their clinical best with Richie Mo'unga back in control, but the northern sides are now - suddenly - the hottest NZ teams in the competition with a combined five wins and a draw over the past three weeks.
Only one of those wins have come in local derbies, but momentum creates confidence.
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Six
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Four
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Three
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Two
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round One
Here's how our Newshub panel of one rates the top NZ performers this week.
1-Aidan Ross (Chiefs): A huge 74-minute shift against a big Jags unit.
2-James Parsons (Blues): His lineout work was by no means perfect, but everything else he did was top-notch and at a hundy percent.
3-Nepo Laulala (Chiefs): Don't the Chiefs enjoy having this guy back and fully fit? A cornerstone of the pack and getting better with every outing.
4-Scott Barrett (Crusaders): If the Super Rugby MVP was named today, it would be this guy. Mammoth.
5-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues): Did something I've never seen on a rugby field before by absolutely snotting Eben Etzebeth. Using his huge frame like a weapon and leading from the front.
6-Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes): A shining light on an otherwise awful night for the Hurricanes. Needed a big game after a slow start to the season, and delivered with several tough runs and hard tackles.
7-Matt Todd (Crusaders): This type of game suited Todd to a tee. Got through a mountain of work, even after 10 minutes in the bin.
8-Akira Ioane (Blues): Not just a human wrecking ball, the Blues bruiser hit plenty of rucks and humans too. Great workrate.
9-Brad Weber (Chiefs): Provided plenty of leadership and a crisp pass. Nice try assist.
10-Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders): Took a lot of good options with not a lot of ball and his early-season goalkicking wobbles are starting to come right.
11-Rieko Ioane (Blues): Just the one try for Rieko this week, but eight clean breaks, six defenders beaten, a try assist and 135m run for the All Blacks flyer. Insane numbers.
12-Ma'a Nonu (Blues): Just when you start writing him off, the old master reminds everyone he's still got it. Totally outplayed Springboks opposite Damian de Allende.
13-Jack Goodhue (Crusaders): A defensive masterclass against the best backline in Super Rugby.
14-Will Jordan (Crusaders): Picked up another well-taken try, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen watching on from the stands. World Cup bolter, Steve?
15-David Havili (Crusaders): One of the most underrated players in NZ. Two tries in an impressive all-round performance.
John Day is a Newshub sports reporter.