Coach Jason Holland said the Crusaders are not invincible. The winless Highlanders showed that last week when they pushed them close only to lose 14-17.
"They're beatable. We've felt they are beatable for three or four years, and it's no different this year. We've played well over the last three or four years, and we haven't won a lot of the time, and that's the Crusaders isn't it?
"They're still a pretty special side but, we know we can win if we play well, we've just got to play well for a long, long time," he said.
Holland said attacking the Crusaders was necessary, but there was also a requirement to maintain intensity across the game and not just for 55 minutes.
Twenty ordinary minutes at the start of the second half, in last week's game against the Chiefs, had made it difficult to win.
Continuing to focus defensively when opponents held the ball for long phases was an area they needed to improve, while they also needed to maintain their attacking pressure when they had the opportunities, he said.
"It's all around keeping pressure on, the Chiefs last week and the Crusaders this week, because you need to keep pressure on for a long time to break them down."
Fullback Josh Moorby is starting and has impressed with his work with the squad.
"He's got an amazing work rate and offers a lot of good rugby skill and has earned his opportunity. We think he'll be nice and controlled for us and do a good job back there," he said.
Blindside flanker Te Kamaka Howden, from Feilding, had come through the Academy system and would offer something different while making his debut with experienced players around him.
Holland said it was part of the Hurricanes' plan during their 'storm' week when playing midweek, and many players would have an opportunity in that time.
All Black Jordie Barrett had been successful playing at second five-eighths.
"Around collisions he was outstanding for us and stopped a lot of their attack. He's giving a lot of direction to how we are going to play the game and he'll do a good job this week as well," he said.