Although the Highlanders have dropped down to fourth place in the New Zealand Conference, their coach Jamie Joseph is not panicking about his side's chances of defending their title.
The champions suffered a 27-20 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday and go into the break for the June Tests on 38 points from 12 matches.
The New Zealand Conference is so competitive, however, that they are just four points adrift of the Chiefs who are in first place although that situation can change if the Crusaders – who are in second spot on 41 – beat the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
But Joseph is confident his side can still turn things around in their last three matches – against the Kings, Jaguares and Chiefs – when the competition resumes in July.
"There's a lot of footy. I don't go into any game where you go 'oh crikey we lost that game, we might as well go and pick up sticks and head off down the [Marlborough] Sounds'," he told Fairfax Media.
"A long way to go, three All Black games [against Wales] coming up, two or three injuries to key players in that series and then she's back on again. I'm not sure who's going to make the playoffs, I don't really care right now because we're hurting from this loss.
"We just have to get our team back on track and now we have to wait a month to actually turn that around."