Blues hooker Keven Mealamu is certain it’s just a matter of time before his Test skipper, flanker Richie McCaw, hits top form.
McCaw has come under the spotlight after a patchy first half of the Super Rugby season for the Crusaders.
Mealamu knows how his fellow All Blacks centurion would have reacted to questions about whether he is still the force of old.
“I would have expected him not to have read any papers or listened to the radio,” he said.
“When Richie comes under a bit of pressure, he’s one of those guys that will come through it pretty well. We don’t expect anything less from him.”
Mealamu will see first hand how McCaw reacts when he skippers the Blues against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.
The latest clash in what was once the most significant New Zealand rivalry in Super Rugby will be between two sides occupying the bottom two spots in their conference.
The Crusaders are 10th in the overall competition and are coming off losses to the Highlanders and the Chiefs.
The Blues, with just one win from nine matches, have only the Western Force below them on the ladder.
Mealamu doesn’t see the Crusaders’ predicament as meaning they will be vulnerable.
“If anything, it just means they will gel together even more,” he said.
“They haven’t played as well as we know they have in the past, but they’re still a Crusaders side. We know what they are capable of.”
But Mealamu also said the Highlanders and the Chiefs had showed up areas where the Crusaders could be attacked.
“There are some things we have seen that we would like to expose,” he said.
“It just means we have to make sure we execute well. If we execute well, we can really put this side under pressure.”