It might be sacrilege to utter the words in Christchurch but Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara went there stating Beauden Barrett could one day surpass Dan Carter as the greatest first-five of all time.

O'Gara's Crusaders side face Barrett and the Hurricanes on Saturday night as they look to continue their perfect start to the 2018 season in Wellington.

O'Gara, who played 128 tests for Ireland as well as appearances for the British and Irish Lions, previously coached Carter at French club Racing Metro before joining the Crusaders.

He had plenty of praise for Carter's All Blacks successor ahead of this weekend's match where the Crusaders eye their first win at Westpac Stadium since 2012.


"He fills grounds. He excites people. Everything good about rugby is what Beauden Barrett does and he's an exceptional talent," O'Gara said of the two-time World Rugby player of the year.

"He's probably nearly redefined number 10 play. Dan was obviously and still is the best 10 in the world, overall for decades. But Beauden Barrett is very exciting and could potentially go on to challenge him for that title. So when you speak of him in that class, by God is he up there."

Saturday's clash was set to be a face-off between two All Black number 10s before Richie Mo'unga suffered a suspected jaw fracture in his side's win over the Stormers.

O'Gara said Mo'unga has taken a positive approach to a six to eight-week stint on the sidelines.

"He's very disappointed at the minute but since Saturday night to now there's been a change in attitude. He's very positive. He's a very pleasant kid and I think he sees it as an opportunity to grow. I think the most important thing from our point of view is that it's early in the season, we hope that Richie plays for the All Blacks going forward as well so every cloud as a silver lining as they say and for Richie is an opportunity to get better and he's already in that zone.''

The Irishman was confident in the Crusaders' depth with Mitch Hunt expected to start ahead of veteran Mike Delany.

"The show goes on. It's a competitive club. It's the Crusaders. There will be competition for places and there will be opportunity for somebody else. We have very capable number 10s in this club so Mitch Hunt will getting plenty of opportunities like he did last year, he really produced. The guy is a competitor, he's young, he's very keen to learn and we have Mike Delany as well who is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of experience and great value in terms of game management."

The Hurricanes have won seven of the last 11 clashes against the Crusaders included handing the 2017 champions their only defeat of last season.