Tyler Bleyendaal isn't one for making excuses.
Injuries, absent All Blacks, the resting of captain George Whitelock and a limited buildup have undermined Canterbury's preparations ahead of tonight's match against Taranaki at AMI Stadium.
If anyone thinks this will force a spooked Canterbury to retreat into a cosy mindset of playing conservatively during their national provincial championship opener, first five-eighth Bleyendaal has news for them.
"You can expect a good performance. I think that's what the province wants from us and that's what the team expects from ourselves," he said.
"We are fairly confident that we will play our usual game plan, that we will try to bring some tempo and some expansiveness to it, I guess. Taranaki will be the same - they will want to play, too."
Last year Canterbury went on a points-scoring rampage when they collected their fifth consecutive title under previous head coach Tabai Matson.
The numbers tell the story; Canterbury averaged 41.9 points in their 10 premier division round-robin matches, well ahead of Wellington, the next best with 32.3.
Canterbury's tackling was also the competition's most committed but it was their desire to crucify opponents on attack that saw them running opponents into the dust.
Despite Scott Robertson being promoted to head coach, and being joined by new assistants Jason Holland and Scott Hansen, Bleyendaal said the change in the team's brains trust shouldn't affect Canterbury's penchant to be the competition's entertainers.
It's not just the new coaching team who have something to prove.
Bleyendaal wants to use the NPC to emphasise to Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder he can be trusted to be the regular starter at No 10 in the absence of Dan Carter next year.
Colin Slade, who has been wooed back to the Crusaders after playing for the Highlanders for the last three years, and Tom Taylor will also contest the playmaker's job but are recovering from injuries. Even when they are fit they are likely to be slotted in at fullback and second five-eighth.
Despite limited opportunities this season Bleyendaal, who joined the Crusaders in 2011, has no regrets about committing to the two-year contract that expires after the 2014 season.
This is despite the Blues still looking for a playmaker after missing out on contracting Beauden Barrett from the Hurricanes and the Highlanders being without an established first-five because Slade has left.
"I'm fairly happy where I am at the moment. Obviously when you come off contract you want to have a look around but my preference is definitely to stay here in Canterbury."
In the short term, Bleyendaal wants to get Canterbury off to a winning start.
Taranaki haven't won in Christchurch since the NPC began in 1976 but their hearts will be racing at the prospect of striking an under-strength Canterbury side so early.
The TAB has listed Taranaki as the outsiders to win at a generous $3.75.
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