Christchurch - The Crusaders fired the opening shot in the psychological war ahead of next weekend's Super Rugby final, saying they were undaunted by facing the in-form Waratahs at home in Sydney.
"We're going to do nothing different this week," coach Todd Blackadder declared on Sunday as the most successful side in Super Rugby history eyed an eighth title.
The Waratahs, who finished seven points clear of the Crusaders in the regular season and are currently on an eight-match winning streak, have made the finals twice previously only to be beaten both times by the Crusaders.
While history counted for little with Blackadder, he said his side were building nicely for this final after a woeful start to the year in which, a third of the way through the competition, they were 11th.
"But the belief was there" he said, adding the Crusaders "have really started to play some fantastic rugby at the right end of the season."
The Crusaders marched into the final after beating South Africa's Sharks 38-6 in the first semi-final on Saturday while the Waratahs downed the Brumbies 26-8 in an all-Australian second semi.
Under a quirk of the Super Rugby competition, the Waratahs and Crusaders did not meet during the regular season but Blackadder said that had no bearing on his side's preparation for the final.
"We've got a really good template that we nailed last week," he said in reference to the demolition of the Sharks.
"We haven't played the Waratahs, don't know them that well although obviously we've seen a lot of their footage and they're the top qualifier. But it's really exciting. I don't think we'll be daunted by the challenge at all."
Blackadder singled out senior All Blacks Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and Dan Carter for their role in the Crusaders imposing form over recent weeks.
Read and McCaw returned from lengthy injury breaks and Carter missed most of the year while on a sabbatical.
"They've really stepped up. I thought Richie was outstanding last night. I felt all week he was going to have one of those games. Reado's back, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the man. he's back on fire," he said.
"Even I wasn't sure about how DC (Carter) would come back after the sabbatical but he's come back and he's just been huge and just been immense and just showed what a world class player that he is.
"And all those three players give the other guys around them a lot of confidence to do their job and nail their role so as a team we're in a really good space at the moment."