Pressure brings out the best in us - Robertson
Maintaining the energy and excitement required to claim a seventh consecutive title (across DHL Super Rugby Pacific and Aotearoa) would be the challenge for the Crusaders in 2023.
Coach Scott Robertson said it would also involve some desperation, but he wanted the side to enjoy that type of pressure.
"Once we've done that, we've played our best footy," he said.
And when pushed for a prospective title winner, he said it was down to the best team in the final.
Starting their campaign against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday night in the competition opener, Robertson said he was expecting another great challenge against one of their most consistent opponents.
"There's a number of great players on both teams, lots of All Blacks and games that are pretty brutal."
Robertson was happy with his side's pre-season, the fitness and the infusion of some impressive younger players alongside his experienced campaigners.
The stage is set. Round one here we gooooo! 😤⏳☀️ pic.twitter.com/XDGH4mL6we— Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) February 19, 2023
After their opener, he was looking forward to the second round, where all teams played in Melbourne, and there was a chance to look at other sides. The Crusaders play the Highlanders in that round and then head to Fiji to play the Drua in Lautoka.
"To play in Lautoka, at 3.30 in the afternoon, with that heat, is a special challenge.
"Everyone knows you never acclimatise, you have to make sure you are mentally ready to go deep. It's a tough place to go, they're usually passionate and it is a unique part of our competition. We're looking forward to it."
Robertson rated the Waratahs among the Australian sides they will face.
"The Waratahs looked nice last year. I enjoyed the way they played, they were more expansive, a little clearer in their DNA, well-coached and they got us, so I remember that, but, I think, they are building nicely."