Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has warned the Crusaders that it will take a very good team to beat Super Rugby's leaders the Stormers.
The Stormers have now won six matches from six after they beat the Highlanders 21-6 in Dunedin.
The Crusaders flew back from South Africa on the weekend to prepare to face the Stormers in Christchurch where they hope to end the Stormers unbeaten run.
Going into last week's match the Highlanders were New Zealand conference leaders and beaten coach Joseph says the Stormers deserve to be on top and says the Crusaders will have to be at the top of their game.
"The defence by the Stormers was a lot better than any defence we've come up against this season," Joseph told Sportal.
"They were very good at slowing down our attack. They did a hell of a job in stopping our flow. "
"There were times when we thought we had them but they always held us out.
"The Stormers are a very good side. They're very consistent in their performances and in the way they play. "
"They play the percentages, they squeeze teams. They've been like that for a few years.
"We couldn't break them and then they turned the pressure back on us, which is what good teams do."
Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh supported his coach's comments over the Super Rugby's leaders.
"They're a very good defensive team. They defend differently. We like to tackle low and get our guys over the ball and try to contest it."
"They like to tackle you, hold you up and then drive you back. They are two contrasting styles and they do it very well."
Joseph said he was relieved that the Highlanders have the bye this weekend was pleased with their five wins from seven matches.
"At the start of the season we would have taken five wins from seven games."
"The game against the Stormers was our 10th, including the three pre-season games."
"I want the players to get away from rugby for a week and have a physical and mental rest."
However Joseph did offer one ray of light for the Crusaders this weekend.
"They looked a bit sore after the game against us, too. "
"There were a few of their guys looking a bit battle-weary so we must have been doing something right."