Given a starting role with All Blacks on either side of him, first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and mid-fielder Jack Goodhue, McLeod will be facing a long-time friend Ngatungane Punivai, who transferred south this year.
There had already been some pre-game chat between the pair.
"We went to school [Christ's College] together, we're real good mates, so it's going to be…I haven't played against him much so it's going to be good fun out there going against him. I'm looking forward to that to," he said.
Helping him through that will be the All Blacks around him.
"It's awesome having Richie and Jack inside and outside me, the experience, the level of detail and confidence that they bring definitely makes my job a lot easier and I'm looking forward to getting out there with them," he said.
"It's going to be quick, the ball will be moved around quite a lot, it will be dry," he said.
It would be key to him and Goodhue building their connection early, he said.
That would especially be the case on defence because the Highlanders had a lot of ball runners in their backline.
There had been a lot of emphasis for the side on the offside rulings, something the Crusaders had issues with during pre-season play and it would be a case of hanging back an extra half metre to a metre. They would still be able to bring their line speed from that, he said.
"That will be our focus this week in our game," he said.
"We've got to be better disciplined. Us backs, mid-fielders can all drive that and get our boys onside."