The travel factor hands favouritism to the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders, according to Highlanders coach Tony Brown.
Brown's tipping the defending champion Hurricanes to end the Crusaders' perfect ten match winning run this season when the two sides meet in Christchurch tomorrow night.
The match could well decide who tops the New Zealand conference.
Brown believes the Crusaders tight turnaround after playing the Bulls in Pretoria South Africa last round could be the decisive factor, saying it's too tough to come back from South Africa and play at your best.
"The Hurricanes are playing great footy at the moment and I think they might take the Crusaders there.
"If it was the other way around, the Crusaders would win. The travel's a big factor."
Brown admits catching the three leading New Zealand teams including the Chiefs is a tall order.
The Crusaders and Hurricanes are both on track to set competition try-scoring records, having tallied 124 between them.
"They're both playing outstanding footy. It's hard to believe how well they're playing at the moment," Brown said.
"I feel sorry for the teams that are coming up against them."
Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara said the Hurricanes aren't getting caught up in the occasion.
That, he said, was the secret to their success last year.
They played without fear when they won the equivalent clash 35-10 in Christchurch in last year's final round.