The ACT Brumbies hope a tense Australian battle for finals spots will give the game a chance to bury off-field controversy by providing the good news rugby union desperately needs.
The Brumbies will restart their bid to return to the play-offs when they clash against the Pretoria Bulls at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
They are locked in a battle with the Melbourne Rebels and the NSW Waratahs for Australia's guaranteed ticket to the finals with just four games left in the regular season.
Australian rugby has been weighed down by off-field issues in the past three years. First it was the demise of the Western Force, and recently Israel Folau's homophobic social media posts.
But Brumbies coach Dan McKellar wants fans to jump on board the finals ride because of what his players are doing on the field after Folau was sacked this week, drawing a line under the latest distraction.
"Just talk positively about the game. We've got rugby union people bashing the game, why are we doing that? We're starting to see the benefits of four teams and two Australian sides might sneak into the finals," McKellar said.
"It's a World Cup year in Japan and the Wallabies have proven they perform well at World Cups. Let's start talking about the good things, start talking about the footy rather than worrying about beating ourselves up all of the time."
McKellar also said a Super Rugby free-to-air television deal was crucial for the game's future.
"Get it on free-to-air, definitely. So that all the kids have access to see the best players running around," McKellar said.
"You've got to make sure every little boy and girl in the country has access to them and has the choice [to play rugby union]. At the moment we're hidden away a bit. Fox Sports is tremendous, but free-to-air would be a positive change."
The Brumbies have won their past five games at home and will get a chance to extend that record when they play the Bulls. They have also won four of their past five to be back in finals contention.
McKellar has made just one change to the starting side which beat the Japan Sunwolves two weeks ago, with Rory Arnold returning from an ankle injury to take his place in the second row.
The Brumbies have also beefed-up their bench to have six forwards instead of five in preparation for a physically taxing match against a the big Bulls pack.
That has paved the way for Rob Valetini to play his first game in two months, with the rookie forward to make his comeback via the bench after injuring his knee against the Waratahs in March.
Lachlan McCaffrey has also recovered from a knee injury, but will make his return via club rugby with the Queanbeyan Whites.
"Locky hasn't played Super Rugby for a while ... he'll get some minutes on board and then be available for the following week rather than throwing him straight back in," McKellar said.
Jahrome Brown, Tom Cusack and Pete Samu retain their place as the starting back row, but David Pocock has been ruled out for at least two more weeks.
"It's a vote of confidence in the guys who have been there, keeping that cohesion with Samu, Cusack and Brown and then bringing Valetini on with 25 or 30 minutes to go," McKellar said.
"The cohesion, combination and confidence in the guy beside you, where we're seeing it most is in our defence. We've got to aim up."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND 15
Friday: ACT Brumbies v Pretoria Bulls at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Tickets available at Ticketek.
Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Faingaa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Tom Cusack, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Toni Pulu, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. James Slipper, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Murray Douglas, 21. Rob Valetini, 22. Ryan Lonergan 23. Tom Wright.