Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was left to lament a “50-50″ call after his side fell short in the Super Rugby Final against the Waratahs.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was left to lament a “50-50″ call after his side fell short in Saturday's Super Rugby Final against the Waratahs.
Blackadder said he would have liked another look at referee Craig Joubert's fateful decision in the dying moments – against Richie McCaw at a ruck – that led to Bernard Foley's last-minute, match-winning penalty.
The Crusaders coach had predicted that the game would hinge on a few crucial moments and he was absolutely right as the 'Tahs claimed a one-point win at the death.
“It was 50-50 I thought, it could have gone either way,” said Blackadder.
“It comes down to those moments doesn't it? There was nothing between the sides.
“I was really proud of the way our guys fought back.
“NSW have been the best team all season and they showed that tonight at the end didn't they, so that's a credit to them.
“They should be proud of their season.”
The result leaves the Crusaders stuck of seven titles having lost four semi-finals and two finals since their last championship winning campaign in 2008.
“Coming second is not much fun, I can tell you that,” said Blackadder, who won three titles as a player.
Playmaker Dan Carter suffered a thigh injury midway through the first half and was forced off.
“He tried to run it off, but he couldn't quite get there, which is disappointing, at least he had a crack, so he's pretty sore,” the coach said.
“It wasn't great losing him so early, but that's just life.
“I thought the guys that went out there did a pretty good job and Sladey (fly-half Colin Slade) stepped up and kicked the goals that he needed to and Tom Taylor ran bloody well.
“But you don't like to lose those influential players.”
Captain Kieran Read couldn't hide his hurt and disappointment after his team had fought back for trailing 14-0 to take the lead with five minutes left to play.
“We're absolutely gutted,” said Read.
“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.
“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.”