We are still very much in it
Kieran Read remains firm in his belief that the Crusaders are a genuine title contender in 2014, despite their slow start to the season.
The Crusaders leapt five places, to seventh, on Super Rugby standing after their impressive 52-31 come from behind win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend.
The Crusaders scored four tries in the final quarter - Tom Taylor (64th minute), Nemani Nadolo (68th minute), Colin Slade (78th minute) and Nemani Nadolo (80th minute).
The Cheetahs had taken a 31-26 lead going into that last 20 minutes and looked in control of the match.
However, the late rally ensure the first clean sweep by the New Zealanders in South Africa since 2008, after comfortably overcoming the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
And it was the first victory by the record seven-time Super Rugby champions over the Cheetahs since 2007 in the Republic.
The skipper, Read, believes his side can still secure their place among the top teams if they can build on the momentum they've achieved from their tour to South Africa.
"We are still very much in it [contention]," he said in his post-match analysis.
"I think every team is still in with a shout for a place in the play-offs," Read said.
"It's a very tough competition and we have to build on our momentum. Another big test awaits us next weekend against the Chiefs. We have to travel well and recover and take it from there."
Victories over the Lions and Cheetahs see the Crusaders now return home to travel to Hamilton to face the Chiefs next week in what is sure to be a battle against the leaders in the New Zealand conference.
Another good performance by Read and his men may well book their place in the knockout stages.
"The Cheetahs are a great side and showed how good they were, especially in that ten minutes in the second half. That put us under a lot of pressure, but I'm proud of the way we just stuck at it and came back strong," Read added.
"Both teams were tiring near the end and it came down to moments of brilliance by a few guys. That's what happens. It's part of the work.
"Certainly we are happy to be on the right side of the result this time around. It was certainly a job well done from our side. We certainly saw what we are capable of if we attack. Now we just have to build on that."