ACT Brumbies prop Scott Sio says the players will embrace being in the Super Rugby finals "driver's seat", but has warned against thinking power is the way to beat the Pretoria Bulls on Friday.
The Brumbies have a chance to keep their lead at the top of the Australian conference when they play the Bulls at Canberra Stadium and start the four-week road to the play-offs.
The stage is set for an Australia sprint for a guaranteed place in the finals, with the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs separated by just three points.
But Sio, who signed a three-year contract extension this week, says the tight competition and the pressure of trying to get back to the finals will make the players rise to a new level.
The Brumbies have won their past six games at home in a row.
"It's a different position for us to be in this year," Sio said.
"In previous years we have been chasing but to be in the driver's seat is great. The pressure is on us and it forces us to go up a level in the next couple of weeks. We have a tough run heading home and I am looking forward to it."
The Bulls were dealt a major blow before the match, losing captain, playmaker and superboot Handre Pollard after he suffered a calf injury.
His absence leaves a massive hole in the Bulls' line-up after beating the Melbourne Rebels to breakthrough for their first win away from South Africa in three years.
Pollard has scored 161 points this season to lead the Super Rugby rankings. He has also kicked the most penalties of any players, slotting 36 from 42 attempts.
It's a massive contrast to the way the Brumbies have been playing, regularly turning down easy penalty shots at goal to go on the attack either via a lineout and rolling maul or using their scrum as a weapon.
In fact, Christian Lealiifano has only had three penalty shots at goal in 12 games so far this year while hooker Folau Faingaa is the competition's leading try-scorer with 10 five-pointers.
"You've obviously got to be disciplined to not allow [the Bulls] those [penalty] opportunities. But I think we've just got to be able to adapt where we need to," Lealiifano said.
"The way the games have worked for us this year we've felt confident and had the momentum to be able to push for tries ... I'm confident in our game at the moment and where it's heading that we can get off to a good start against the Bulls then limit their opportunities."
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.
Bulls: 1. Lizo Gqoboka, 2. Schalk Britz, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 4. Jason Jenkins, 5. RG Snyman, 6. Paul Schoeman, 7. Handro Liebenberg, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 9. Andre WArner, 10. Manie Libbok, 11. Rosko Specman, 12. Burger Odendaal, 13. Johnny Kotze, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 15. Warrick Gelant. Reserves: 16. Jaco Visagie, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Wiehan Herbst, 19. Jannes Kirsten, 20. Marco van Staden, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. JT Jackson, 23. Divan Rossouw.