Australia's Super Rugby teams have failed to produce players fit enough for test rugby, leaving the Wallabies underdone for tests against the All Blacks, their captain says.
The chances of the top-four spots changing between now and the playoffs look remote.
Otago Boys' High School Second XV climbed one place in the standings with a shut-out at Littlebourne on Saturday.
From the grunters up front to the speedsters out the back, the All Blacks said they were put through the mill on Saturday night.
Want to know why the All Blacks won on Saturday night?
All Black coach Steve Hansen admits he is worried about the health of fullback Ben Smith but both player and coach are in the wait and see camp.
The Lions believe they are still very much in the series and just need to look at a few ''fixables''.
Another concussion cloud surrounding Ben Smith has seen a Damian McKenzie called into the All Blacks.
The All Blacks played their usual triple threat game and produced all their expected spark and flair, but so too did the Lions.
The top four may soon be set in stone with the three leading sides all recording wins.
Otago's top referee, Adam Morrison, is heading abroad at the end of the season.
The British and Irish Lions are right where they want to be and believe strength throughout the squad will pay dividends tonight.
The All Black skipper has given himself the big tick and is ready to lap up a once-in-career experience.
Games come and go. The seasons roll from one to the next.
Former Highlanders coach Greg Cooper has been through plenty of drama in his first season with the Stade Francais club. Back in Dunedin for a short break, he catches up with rugby writer Steve Hepburn.
It is shaping up as a tense weekend for New Zealand sports fans.
In preparing his team for Saturday's seismic first test against the British and Irish Lions, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made a point of looking to the past for inspiration.
Being courageous and bold, Warren Gatland says, is the key to winning the first test at Eden Park.
Arrowtown travels to take on Cromwell in what stacks up as the game of the round tomorrow in the latest round of the Central Otago premier rugby competition.
This weekend has match-ups which are pivotal to the final outcome of the season.