A number of the Australian Super Rugby players have stepped up this year with the incentive of playing in the series against the British and Irish Lions.
That's the view of the former Hurricanes and Blues halfback Alby Mathewson.
The ACT Brumbies top the overall Super Rugby standings heading into the halfway stage, while the Reds are also in the play-off picture and Mathewson's Western Force side team is coming off an upset win over the Crusaders.
Mathewson, who's in Wellington with his Western Force side taking on the Hurricanes this weekend, is in his first season with the Perth-based franchise and he says he's loving the change of environment.
He says the Aussie sides are being well-coached.