It's a case of all or nothing as Super Rugby rolls into the play-offs, where the Blues and Waratahs square-off in a battle for competition survival at the end of a grueling campaign.
No let-up for Rebels | Blues fear Beale's X-factor | Look back at the season
The elimination rounds are not something new to either of the two successful sides, with both teams having tasted heartbreak at this stage in seasons gone by.
The Blues will look to make their home ground advantage count and draw from their 31-11 triumph over the 'Tahs at Eden Park earlier this season.
The Auckland franchise have locked-down their defence recently, which has brought real balance to the side that has always had a sprinkling of special players in the backline.
Attacking finesse in open play and steely uncompromising defence has become the hallmark of the Blues this season.
There is a degree of mystery about the Waratahs, who have grown a taste for the unpredictable on attack under the stewardship of their architect Kurtley Beale.
The danger for the 'Tahs come when the moment of unexpected brilliance doesn't arrive soon enough and they can revert to static kicking game that could play into the Blues hands, given their capacity to attack from deep inside their own half.
The 'Tahs major concern is their lengthy injury list and lack of recognisable depth, as coach Chris Hickey has been forced to scour the club rugby scene this week for emergency replacements following injuries to Luke Burgess, Daniel Halangahu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Al Baxter, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Wycliff Palu, Sekope Kepu, Rob Horne and Ben Mowen.
The array of injuries has severely weakened the Waratahs front row resources in particular, with Benn Robinson left to hold the fort against a powerful Blues pack.
An open running game will suit the Waratahs backs who like to attack during unstructured play, while the Blues will be advised to keep the game tight and use their big pack of forwards to retain possession and keep ball in hand.
Players to watch: For the Blues their skipper Keven Mealamu is never far from the action and leads by example in the tough physical battles at the breakdown, while flank Jerome Kaino is the team's defensive kingpin. For the Waratahs this will be an emotion game for captain Phil Waugh in what could be his last game for the veteran flank, who will be involved at every ruck scavenging for the ball. Prop Benn Robinson must hold the 'Tahs scrum steady in the absence of the rest of the regular front row panel.
Head to Head: The two jokers in the pack are Blues centre Luke McAlister and 'Tahs attacking spearhead Kurtley Beale, who both have the ability to win and lose a game for their sides at any given time. They are the kind of talented players who can spark that one moment of magic to unlock a defence and change the course of the game, while their capacity for a complete brain explosion adds the element of risk in a tight match.
2011: Blues won 31-11, Auckland
2010: Waratahs won 39-32, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 27-22, Auckland
2008: Waratahs won 37-16, Sydney
2007: Blues won 34-6, Auckland
2006: Waratahs won 43-9, Sydney
rugby365.com Prediction: The sheer number of injuries in the Waratahs camp has left the Sydney team with a mountain to climb, although they do possess the attacking arsenal to make a fist of the match. The Blues should have the skill, determination and man power to win by at least 10 points.
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Blues: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Charlie Faumuina.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers.
Waratahs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Atieli Pakalani, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Sosene Anesi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Phil Waugh (captain), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Pat O'Connor, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Hugh Perrett, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Bernard Foley.
Date: Friday, June 24
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Expected weather: There is rain expected to arrive in showers during the afternoon and evening accompanied by a southwesterly wind. Cold conditions with a high of 15°C and a low of 11°C.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson, Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
By Timmy Hancox
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