Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has not given up hope of sneaking into the play-off places, despite losing their seventh game of the season.
The 32-22 defeat at the Waratahs on Saturday severley dented the New Zealanders' chances of reaching the knockouts, with matches running out.
Blackadder's charges are currently seven points off sixth place with just three fixtures to play. However, the Crusaders boss will not yet throw in the towel.
"I still think there is a very, very outside chance," he told stuff.co.nz.
"We have just got to try and finish our season with some respectability, that is probably the key. We can't give up hope."
"There will be a silver lining out of all this. There is still a slim chance we can make the play-offs and it will almost be like a fresh start (with Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Tom Taylor and Willi Heinz moving on) for the Crusaders next year.
"It could possibly be a good thing, but there is a long way to go yet."