After a rise even assistant coach Jason Gilmore didn't expect to come so soon, the Waratahs are suddenly eyeing off a spot in the top four as they prepare for the Hurricanes.

The visitors started slowly against Moana Pasifika, falling behind 17-0 before fighting back to record a 26-20 victory at Mt Smart Stadium.

After the highs of a fortnight ago, the slow start was feared but expected by Gilmore and the coaching staff, proud of their ability to stay composed and come away with the win.

“We always knew it was a tricky game with the obvious high from the Crusaders, generally you have a bit of a comedown the following week and probably in the first 15-20 we showed that but the boys stayed composed and fought their way back into the game which was pleasing,” Gilmore said to reporters.

“I think Moana turned up to play, it was their first game at Mt Smart for a while, they came down with plenty of energy and we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to in the first 15 and that put us behind on the scoreboard.

“We knew if we could hold possession, grind them down, our fitness and speed of game would get them.”

The Waratahs have suddenly rocketed into top-four contention after six wins in their last eight games, more than they managed in the past two seasons combined.

This sees them leapfrog the Queensland Reds into fifth, tied on points with the fourth-placed Chiefs after their defeat to the Brumbies.

“(We’re) certainly not going to get carried away, DC (Darren Coleman) is big on the boys, once you roll in on Monday, it’s a new job and the old cliche of focusing all our energy on the Hurricanes," Gilmore believes. 

"Get through that and then we worry about the Highlanders so it’s a pretty important next few weeks if we want to jag that top-four spot.

“Happy with Moana, happy with Crusaders but that’s gone now, we have to focus on the Hurricanes...This week’s going to be a much faster-paced game, so we’re going to have to train that way this week.

“We’re going to have to be super fast on the field, ready to go from the first whistle because the Hurricanes will bring a different challenge.”