Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said several close games meant the Hurricanes were not far away, and the way they came back against the Chiefs in the last game was a reminder of their threat.
"They've got everything there. We've had some great battles over the years with them, so we've got to make sure we play for 80 [minutes]. It's a lot of cliché stuff, but they're desperate.
"These last couple of rounds for Kiwi teams are so critical before we play Australian teams so, it will compound. It's got a good final feeling about it," he said.
Robertson said hooker Shiloh Klein's three-game suspension was in line with those issued, and it was a tough lesson for him. But they were immediately working with him to work on his technique to stay low.
Robertson said mindset and language used were just as important as technique in dealing with the requirements of the laws because they planted the requirements in the players' minds.
That was important for the care of players on both sides.
Replacement Ricky Jackson had been with the squad for much of the season and had earlier experience with the Highlanders.
Robertson said Jordie Barrett's play at second five-eighths for the Hurricanes last week was good. He was a physical player with the gifts of distribution and toughness.
"He's got a great all round game so we weren't surprised," he said.
"He can still use that boot when he needs to. I think his physicality that he brings, his ability to make an impact on the game, his touches. He's in the right place, he's a finisher, he sets other people up. He's the complete package," he said.
Prop Fletcher Newell had made an impact for the Crusaders this year. Robertson said he had been around the side for several seasons having come through the Academy. He was like other players who had been patient - they were set up to succeed when they got their opportunity.
"He's a big man, good feet, explosive, loves scrummaging and to do what he is doing at his age is pretty special," he said.
The try he scored last week against the Highlanders exemplified the qualities he brought. He hit the ball at speed, broke the line and had a hit and spin to get over the line.
"That's a nice complement to all the set-piece stuff he has to achieve to be on top of the game, but he's got a bit about him," he said.