NSW Waratahs captain Phil Waugh admitted the players are ignoring speculation surrounding coach Ewen McKenzie's future at the club and are instead focusing their energies on beating the Cheetahs on Friday night.
The New South Wales club have the chance to win their fourth match of the Super 14 season against the struggling Cheetahs as they attempt to earn a place in the semi-finals.
For McKenzie, a victory is almost essential amid mounting speculation he may be replaced in mid-season by 'Tahs attack coach Todd Louden following the club's 34-7 loss against the Crusaders last weekend.
"Obviously there's been a fair bit of media coverage about McKenzie but the guys are just looking forward to performing and at the moment we've probably been a little disappointed with the way we've played," said Waugh.
"It's business as usual but there's certainly a lot of pressure.
"We've put ourselves in a position now having won three from five and have come to a bit of a turning point in the season.
"There's certainly pressure to perform and to win this game because the season doesn't get any easier the longer it goes, so we've got to put ourselves in a good position to hopefully set up the back end of the season."
For McKenzie, though, this year is make or break time as the coach was issued a well-documented ultimatum prior to the season that only a final-four finish would guarantee his tenure next campaign.
With three victories in 2008 so far, the Waratahs have already matched their performance from last year, where they finished a dismal 13th, and could be in line for a place in the semi-finals.
Despite the club's improved record this year, McKenzie has already been accused of medical negligence in signing rugby league convert Timana Tahu on a four-year deal.
The former Parramatta Eel will miss most of the season with a hamstring strain that he has since revealed has been a chronic problem for five years.
The manner in which the 'Tahs went down to the Crusaders last weekend, after being ahead by a point early in the second half, has also added to the pressure on the coach.
Waugh believes a win over the struggling Cheetahs, who fell to a 29-23 loss by an inexperienced Brumbies side last weekend, will help to quell some of the speculation.
And by playing a more expansive style and being more selective in attack, Waugh feels the 'Tahs can overwhelm the Cheetahs and get their season back on track.
"It's about getting the balance right," Waugh said.
"There's obviously going to be times to play an open style but there's also times when you've got to tighten the game up and go through the middle."