With just five matches left of the league phase of the competition, the Crusaders are languishing in ninth position in the standings.
But although the prospect of missing out on the play-offs for the first time since 2001 is now a reality for the seven-time champions – who are five points adrift of the Waratahs who are in sixth spot on the table – fly-half Colin Slade said they are not throwing in the towel yet.
"We certainly haven't put up any flags yet," he told Fairfax Media.
"We are still hungry, while we have got a chance. I wouldn't want any blokes beside me apart from these guys. We have got the men we want – as a group we are capable of coming out of this."
The Christchurch-based outfit delivered one of their best performances of the season but still suffered a 29-23 defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
They face a difficult task in final five matches against the Reds, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Blues and Brumbies with the latter two fixtures and the clash with the defending champions all away from home.
Despite being in unfamiliar territory, Slade remains positive.
"We are still a chance and not one of our guys is going to give up," he added.
"We are going to give our guts every week."