The last time the Crusaders lost to an overseas-based team in Christchurch was in February last year.

The Rebels were triumphant on that occasion, winning 20-10 at AMI Stadium despite losing halfback Nic Stirzaker to a yellow card in the second minute and being in the possession of a very ordinary record in New Zealand.

In the end they won convincingly, the Crusaders unable to score a point in the second half. The red and blacks don't lose to foreign teams at home often, but when they do they fall badly.

The time before that was in May 2014 when they lost to the Sharks 30-25 despite Jean Deysel's red card after 16 minutes and a yellow card to Willem Alberts in the 63rd, a bumbling performance from the home side which caused a fair bit of soul-searching about their conservative tactics.

Advertisement

All of which should have Todd Blackadder's men on red alert for tonight's match against the Jaguares.

The Crusaders returned from South Africa and Perth with a perfect three-win record to set up a five-win, one loss start to the season, their best since 2011 when they made the final. But the Argentines have the ability to spoil the party and with 10 reinforcements, including regular skipper Agustin Creevy, arriving after the Jaguares' two defeats in New Zealand to the Blues and Hurricanes, there is also a sense of the unknown.

A positive for the Crusaders is that they are approaching full strength for the first time. They have coped amazingly without Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Colin Slade thus far, but while Richie Mo'unga has been very good in the No 10 jersey, they have lacked quality at fullback, so the return of All Black Israel Dagg is a timely one.

Dagg, who has played only 30 minutes for his University club after returning from a major shoulder injury suffered while playing for Hawkes Bay last year, will provide another playmaking option for the Crusaders, but also a soundness on defence that David Havili and Ben Volavola haven't been able to replicate. Dagg's booming right boot has been missed -- particularly in round one against the Chiefs, the Crusaders' only loss so far - so Blackadder will hope Dagg comes through his time on the field unscathed.

Another plus is the celebration of midfielder Ryan Crotty's 100th match. Crotty, still only 27, has been a consistent and popular performer for the Crusaders and Blackadder hopes his team responds in the right fashion.

"It has been a quick turnaround this week, from returning from Perth on Sunday to playing on Friday night, but there will be no problem keeping motivation and energy levels up for the team, with a home crowd to play in front of and an exciting new team to face," Blackadder said.

"The boys will also be keen to ensure that it is a memorable night for their good mate Ryan Crotty. He is a pivotal member of this team and to reach 100 games already is testament to the commitment and hard work that he has put in. We have been privileged to have him in the team for the last 99 games and we hope to have him around for many more."