Crusaders captain Kieran Read has admitted that the first half lead that they gave the Waratahs in the Super Rugby final proved to be their undoing.
The Crusaders were stunned in the opening quarter of the Super Rugby final as the Waratahs scored at a point a minute for the opening 14 minutes of the match.
The Crusaders trailed 20-13 at half time but took the lead in the 49th minute after scoring their second try in the opening minutes of the second half.
The lead then changed several times before Colin Slade kicked his sixth penalty four minutes from time to put his side into the lead for the last time.
All Black captain Richie McCaw was penalised two minutes later and Bernard Foley kicked a long range penalty to win the match 33-32 and the Waratahs first Super Rugby title.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read said that his team was gutted to come so close and lose the final by one point.
"We didn't come here for this result, but you have to give full credit to NSW, when you give them the lead that we did it's very hard to run down," said Read.
"We probably didn't handle that pressure early on and let them get a roll on and it was a case for us to get our hands on the ball and creating our own pressure.
"In the second half we probably controlled it and they had that one opportunity and they took it."
It was a case of third time lucky for the Waratahs as the Crusaders won two (2005 and 2008) of their seven titles in finals against the Waratahs.
Colin Slade scored 20 points from a conversion and six penalties, while joint top try scorer Nemani Nadolo scored a controversial try and flanker Matt Todd the other Crusaders try.
Nadolo finished the season on 12 tries level with Israel Folau.