The Wallabies coach Robbie Deans isn't surprised by the rise of the Queensland Reds and believes three Australian sides could yet make the Super 14 playoffs while his former sides the Crusaders could struggle.
Deans, said at the end of last season that the Reds after the Queensland side finished in the bottom three for the sixth straight season, that they'd host a final in 2010.
The suggestion was laughed off but under new coach Ewen McKenzie, the Reds go into the final three rounds in fourth spot and with a top two finish and home semi-final within reach.
Last year all four Australian sides failed to make the playoffs but now a year out from the world cup, along with the Reds the fifth-placed Waratahs and the Brumbies are also in play-off contention.
There's also the prospect of no New Zealand team making the semi-finals for the first time.
The Crusaders are currently third but they have to tough matches against the Stormers and the Bulls in South Africa over the next two weekends.
Deans, who coached the Crusaders to five Super rugby titles, says after losing to the Western Force last weekend, his former side has a lot of work ahead of them to remain in title contention.