The Hurricanes' 10-12 loss to the Brumbies at the weekend took their hopes of contesting the final out of their hands. To keep chances alive, they first need to score a win and then watch other results fall their way.
Assistant coach Chris Gibbes said they knew all along the competition was going to be tight. Even if winning most of their games dropping one made life more difficult.
"The air was definitely out of the tyres on Saturday night. We were so close but just not quite good enough," he said.
"It's been what it's been like for us most of the year. We've done some good things but haven't been able to execute under pressure at times."
The game had been physical, but no significant injuries had occurred. All the Australian sides had been physical in their forwards, especially, and the side was feeling the effects of a bruising contest with the Brumbies.
Gibbes said after a good first half, their inaccuracies and decision-making fell away.
"That's ultimately what's cost us. We had plenty of opportunities to win that game and we didn't take it," he said.
Fullback Jordie Barrett had also missed two penalty goal attempts he would normally have landed in the dying moments of the game.
Gibbes said he was feeling that, but he was a resilient character and would bounce back.