Nearly every rugby critic may be writing them off, but Dane Coles is backing his Hurricanes troops to conquer the Crusaders in Christchurch tomorrow night despite the absence of four All Blacks from their starting line-up.
The Hurricanes will face the defending champions without Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea while TJ Perenara and Ngani Laumape have been named on the bench.
Despite the depleted backline, the forward pack has been given a boost with Dane Coles set to start his first Super Rugby match in over a year.
He expects it to be a positive return.
"We know what we're up against and it's an awesome challenge," he said.
"There's a few changes - a lot of guys that probably didn't think they'd get a start have got the opportunity to start and I think it's just a reward for all the hard work they put in in the preseason.
"We're going to go out and have a crack."
Coles said the Hurricanes' line-up this week isn't about the lack of All Blacks they have, but their depth in talent.
"In this comp, you've got to dig pretty deep into your well for your team to go pretty deep into this competition.
"Just because Finlay [Christie] doesn't have 60 All Blacks caps, doesn't make this team any lesser - I've got absolute confidence in those boys.
"And we can bring TJ [Perenara] and Ngani [Laumape] off the bench to bring a bit of impact."
The Hurricanes and Crusaders face off at 7:30pm tomorrow.