Injuries and high-paying contracts have been a pain, but there is some comfort to be had.
Whatever happens to the Stormers on Saturday it is the New Zealand team that has been the most destructive this season.
The departure of rugby stalwarts opens the doors for younger players – and new coaches – to shine.
Saturday's pivotal Super Rugby derby is set to be a battle royal with the conference title at stake.
The struggling Cheetahs have been tamed this season but the Lions have regained their roar.
Traditionalists will be happy to see that playing rugby the old-fashioned way pays off.
Skipper Warren Whiteley adds spice to the Golden Lions games.
With the play-offs in sight, it's a tricky time for those teams that have worked consistently.
In the television age, it makes little sense to divide the rugby world into north and south, and thus partner with countries across wide time zones.
Getting the fans behind the team by playing pleasing rugby can be a recipe for success.
The season has shown a marked turnaround in performances, led by the indomitable Lions.
The going is extremely tough for the Sharks right now as the Lions and Stormers surge ahead.
Can the Durban team sink any lower than last weekend's embarrassing defeat to the Crusaders? Andy Capostagno traces the sad decline.
Twice within eight months the referee admits that the wrong side won. Something has to change.
Highly paid Super 15 superstars owe it to the fans not to produce lacklustre, boring displays.
It's not stretching credulity too far to suggest that the Lions could now be leading the South African conference, instead of languishing in 11th spot
Waratahs player Jacques Potgieter was fined Aus$20 000 after a Brumbies player complained that Potgieter had made an anti-gay remark.
Battling Sonny Bill Williams will remind the former Bok of the glory he has potentially sacrificed.
Coach Frans Ludeke has a lot riding on this weekend's match against the Sharks.