Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty believes his side has one of the best forward packs in the world, but he admits the Hurricanes will more than likely bring the heat in their Super Rugby clash tomorrow night in Christchurch.
Crotty said that, despite the Hurricanes starting rookie Fletcher Smith at first-five and Finlay Christie at halfback, the Canes have strong players throughout their 23-man squad.
"It just shows the trust they have in their squad," Crotty said. "They've got quality men right through out. It is probably one of the biggest challenges of the year when we come up against these guys."
Judging by their past encounters with the Wellington franchise, Crotty predicted his team's clash with the Hurricanes will be no walk in park.
"The boys get excited for it, but certainly not taking them lightly. They're new combinations, but we just need to go out there and do our jobs."
He credited his team's forward pack for laying down the platform for the backs and for their side's ongoing success in Super Rugby.
"The boys in the tight five and the loosies really take pride - I guess [that's] how they've been quite dominant in the last couple of years," Crotty said.
"We rely on them a lot. It's nice, we really appreciate the work that goes on up front.
"They get those drives going, they create space for the backs to play. They do a great job for us [backs] - one of the best packs in world rugby, and that is what they go out and prove most weeks."
The Hurricanes beat the Crusaders 29-19 in round four last March, but the Crusaders have won their last two encounters in 2018.
The Crusaders beat the Canes 24-13 in round 15 last May and ended the Wellington Super Rugby franchise's play-off run in the semi-final, winning 30-12 in Christchurch in July.