In a clash of unbeaten sides, Super Rugby Aotearoa will welcome its biggest battle of the competition when the Crusaders host the Blues in Christchurch tonight.
The top-of-the-table match-up between the perennial contenders and the new kids on the block is a representation of the sport's 2020 landscape, and a reminder of the early days of Super Rugby.
The two most successful New Zealand franchises were jostling at the start of the competition in the late 1990s. Since, their fortunes have been starkly different — the red and blacks have continued to add trophy after trophy to their cabinet, while the Blues have been the New Zealand cellar-dwellers for the best part of a decade.
But losing has seemingly faded from the fabric of the Blues' modern identity. Before the initial 2020 competition's demise, they had five wins from seven games and have gone 3-0 in the domestic tournament.
All of a sudden, they appear capable of challenging the three-time defending champions, who have won the last 11 fixtures between the two, and are unbeaten in their last 35 at home.
Blues forwards coach Tom Coventry believes the return of an old rivalry is helping boost the game's popularity in New Zealand.
"Already I know there's so much interest in this match, the fact that it's a Blues-Crusaders rivalry that's been reignited is a good one, too. I know our fans are right in behind us."
On top of the occasion, Coventry says the return of rugby itself has helped the public understand its "cultural significance".
"I think the excitement around this competition is huge.
"Generally for the game, I think it's mighty that we're filling stadiums up. Not long ago, we were talking about playing in front of cardboard cut-outs, and now we're playing in front of full stadiums."
Taking on the competition's leaders is a task hooker James Parsons is encouraged by.
"That's an exciting challenge to potentially be the first team to go down there and get the job done," Parsons says.
"They've got a great game plan and a style they like to play in their own backyard."
Parsons knows the importance of playing the full 80 minutes against a team who have a habit of pulling away late in games.
Just last week, the Crusaders scored three tries in the final 21 minutes against the Highlanders, turning a one-point lead into 20.
In their opener against the Hurricanes, they scored two in the final 11 minutes to break a deadlock and secure a bonus point.
"That's why they're the competition leaders because they've got those bonus points, because they are relentless in their own game plan and their style."
You have to rewind back to 2004 to enjoy a Blues win in Christchurch - a historic clash that featured a last-minute Carlos Spencer try, conversion and (un)friendly gesture to the Cantabrian crowd.
The two sides played earlier this year when the Crusaders ran out convincing 25-8 winners at Eden Park. Since then, however, the Blues have enjoyed a seven-match winning run and are perfect in four New Zealand derbies.
Coventry says facing such a quality side, teams need to be "clinical and accurate" with everything they do.
"You need to be physical. All the things they're good at, you need to be able to match those."
Coventry says they have had extra sessions this week, focusing particularly on their set-piece, an area where he believes they struggled last time against the Crusaders.
The pack will be buoyed by the return of prop Karl Tu'inukuafe and loose forward Blake Gibson from injury. They are set to feature off the bench.
Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Sione Mafileo, Aaron Carroll, Blake Gibson, Jonathan Ruru, TJ Faiane, Matt Duffie.
David Havili, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Tom Christie, Tom Sanders, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor (c), Joe Moody.
Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Oliver Jager, Quentin Strange, Sione Havili, Mitchell Drummond, Fetuli Paea, Will Jordan.