Crusaders have huge amount of respect for the Blues

Crusaders assistant coach Scott Hansen says if the Blues are strong, New Zealand rugby is strong.

In a top of the table clash this Saturday, the Crusaders host the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa in Christchurch, a match which will give many older fans flashbacks to the glory days of the Auckland-Canterbury rivalry.

Both sides are unbeaten after three games, and with no finals to take place, Saturday could go a long way towards deciding which team will lift the trophy later this year.

Hansen says there is a huge amount of respect for the Blues.

He says the Blues are a team with a lot of cohesion at the moment, awesome synergy in their game with their attack and their defence.

The Blues take on the Crusaders at 7.05pm Saturday while the Hurricanes will face the Highlanders at 3.35pm Sunday.