Coach Scott Robertson was still expecting a typical local derby with the Highlanders. They were hurting after recent losses. They had some great players who were playing good rugby. They just needed to get the ball over the line more often.
While the Highlanders have stood players down, including Josh Ioane, Mikaele Marino Tu'u and Sio Tomkinson, Robertson was still expecting a strong performance from them.
They always got up to play the Crusaders, and it wouldn't be any different on Friday, he said.
Robertson said having completed the first round of their title defence unbeaten, he was looking for more growth in the skill sets among the team, especially under pressure, and executing what was in front of them.
Looking at his future, Robertson was in negotiations over his contract with New Zealand Rugby.
He was aware his name had been raised as a prospective coach as England undertakes a review of its options.
He said it was flattering to be mentioned in international jobs, especially in a role like England's position. But there was also interest in the longer-term future with New Zealand, especially as financial discussions were underway.
"The next couple of days is pretty big around the Silver Lake deal. We are getting close, but the Silver Lake deal is a pretty important part of re-signing.
"Like I've said before, with the agent, he's a pretty patient type, it's a long game for him just around what's happening with New Zealand Rugby, just making sure the timing is right," he said.
It was a case of what the prospective Silver Lake investment deal meant and if it was, or wasn't, accepted.
"What does it look like on the side of that, with the next All Blacks role coming up, and what is the timing?" he said.
There had been talks with the coaching group, and they were still well-aligned, but things could change, and they were waiting for some answers to decide his next step after seven years with the Crusaders.
He said he had been appointed to coach the Barbarians in their game against the British & Irish Lions before the South African series.
Robertson said he was a career coach, and that was about making the most of opportunities as they become available. That was why the contract discussions were so important.