Mentally all the teams have been tested, so while you still have a chance you must show that desire
To win one of the most competitive and demanding Super Rugby seasons yet will require good old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke feels the margins are so small this year that 'desire' will be what separates the winners from the also-rans after the grand finale on August 4.
The expanded competition, with the novelty of a mid-season break for internationals, is making bigger demands on the players than ever before - with an unprecedented number of injuries through all 15 teams.
"It is how badly you want it ... the hunger and motivation," Ludeke said, when asked what it will take to get through another month of rugby for those teams who do advance to the Final next month.
"All the teams have been through the same ups and downs," Ludeke told this website, adding: "Everybody had setbacks, all the teams had injury setbacks to key players, we all lost games we should not have lost.
"There is not a single team that did not have something go wrong for them throughout the competition.
"Mentally all the teams have been tested, so while you still have a chance you must show that desire.
"If we [the Bulls] have a look at ourselves, we have worked very hard and we are determined to ensure we are still in the competition after this coming weekend," he said of their final league fixture - against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Bulls, who will be without the services of Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe for the trans-Jukskei derby, are confident that they have the depth to cope with more injury setbacks.
"Wilhelm [Steenkamp, who comes in for Van der Merwe] is an old hand and senior player - [he has] 51 Super Rugby games," Ludeke told this website.
"It is great to be able to bring a player like that in.
"[Bok flank] Deon Stegmann is also back after his lengthy injury lay-off and it is also great to have him back, especially for such an important game as this."
Ludeke described the match as a "must-win", with the teams from third place to eighth place on the standings fighting for the four remaining play-off spots and just five points separating them.
"We [the teams from third to eighth] are all in the same boat ... which proves just how competitive it has been this season.
"We are determined to ensure we stay in the race," the Bulls mentor added of a season where all but the top two sides - Chiefs and Stormers - have lost five games or more.
"If you look just at the teams at the bottom of the standings, how many of them have beaten teams that are in the top half and in the running for the play-offs," Ludeke said, adding: "You had to have been at your best throughout the season.
"Even this coming weekend, there is everything to play for and all the teams have to go out and give it their all [for a win] to secure their best possible place in the standings.
"I have no doubt this has been one of the most challenging seasons for many years."
Asked what aspects the Bulls have worked on, following their 10-32 humbling at the hands of the Sharks last week, Ludeke spoke of "minor issues" that cost them in Durban last Friday.
He said it will require a one percent improvement from a game where they never finished off all their opportunities.
"We didn't create a good foundation to play from or made tactical errors ... all minor issues.
"We had good opportunities on attack, where we took the ball through six, seven or eight phases, but didn't finish off.
"Often it was just one player that arrived a moment too late at the breakdown.
"We have worked on those aspects, ensure the basics are right - ensure that when you keep the pressure up and when you create opportunities you finish them off."
Speaking of the encounter with the Lions, Ludeke said both teams will be competitive to the end.
"The Lions ... it is their last match and they will no doubt want to produce a good performance to finish the season off with.
"For us there is a lot more at stake, we are looking forward to go out there and put a solid 80-minute performance on the park.
"Against the Lions it is always tough and there are no secrets [between the two teams] - you know it will require a huge 80-minute effort."
By Jan de Koning