Newshub rugby tragic John Day casts his discerning eye over how the New Zealand teams are shaping up for next week's kick-off.
Titles: 10 (1998,99, 2000, 02, 05, 06, 08, 17, 18, 19)
Last season: First (11-2-3), beat Jaguares in final
Coach: Scott Robertson
Props - Michael Alaalatoa, Harry Allan, George Bower, Oliver Jager, Joe Moody, Isi Tu'ungafasi
Hookers - Andrew Makalio, Brodie McAlister, Codie Taylor
Locks - Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Quinten Strange
Loose forwards - Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Whetu Douglas, Cullen Grace, Billy Harmon, Sione Havili, Ethan Roots, Tom Sanders
Halfbacks - Mitchell Drummond, Ere Enari, Bryn Hall
First-fives - Fergus Burke, Brett Cameron, Richie Mo'unga
Midfield - Braydon Ennor, Inga Finau, Jack Goodhue, Dallas McLeod
Outside Backs - George Bridge, Leicester Fainga'anuku, David Havili, Will Jordan, Manasa Mataele, Fetuli Paea, Sevu Reece
Feb 1 v Waratahs
Feb 8 @Chiefs
Feb 14 @Blues
Feb 21 v Highlanders
Mar 6 v Reds
Mar 14 @Sunwolves
Mar 20 v Hurricanes
Mar 28 @Highlanders
Apr 3 v Blues
Apr 17 @Rebels
Apr 24 v Jaguares
May 2 v Stormers
May 8 @Hurricanes
May 17 @Lions
May 24 @Sharks
May 30 v Chiefs
Where do you start? The Crusaders have lost over 800 games of Super Rugby experience with veterans Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Kieran Read and Ryan Crotty all absent in 2020. It's hard to single out any one of them, but the man they'll miss the most is Sam Whitelock, not only for his playing ability but for his leadership as well.
Despite the departure of those big names, the Crusaders haven't made any star signings for 2020. The All Blacks loss is the Crusaders' biggest gain, and you'd have to say coach Scott Robertson staying on is a massive bonus.
Biggest question - Can the Crusaders dominate without a 'Rolls Royce' pack?
The main reason why the Crusaders have won three titles in a row has been their ability to dominate at set-piece. While the bulk of the backline is still there, the forward pack has been decimated. The Crusaders used to be able to rely on their domination upfront to win them games. They're going to have to find a different tactic this year.
With forward dominance not guaranteed, it'll be up to Richie Mo'unga to prove he's just as good without an elite pack in front of him. But the All Blacks first-five has been brilliant since his debut season in 2016 and there's nothing to suggest he won't step up to the challenge again this year.
Who the hell is he?
A name that won't be familiar to Crusaders fans is Ethan Roots. The North Harbour product had a strong Mitre Ten Cup campaign playing at both blindside flanker and number eight. The 22 year-old could follow in the footsteps of Ron Cribb and make his name at the Crusaders.
For the first time in four years, Scott Robertson won't be breakdancing at the end of the season. While the Crusaders have one of the most lethal backlines in the competition, their forwad pack, especially the loosies, just don't look experienced enough to be able to come through when it matters most. I'm picking the Saders to be beaten in the semi-finals.