Waratahs captain Michael Hooper welcomed his team's long overdue venture to the final after their semi-final win over the Brumbies.
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper welcomed his team's eighth-straight win and their long overdue venture to the final after Saturday's semi-final win over the Brumbies in Sydney.
Hooper, who led the Waratahs' defensive effort, said hosting the tournament decider against the Crusaders was “new territory for us but exciting territory.”
“We talked before the game about taking opportunities but we had to make them tonight,” Hooper said.
“We came up with a few, I won't say lucky tries but tries we built under pressure and we take that … we're in the final and we're stoked.
“Defence wins you games and it was really good tonight, really good to see the big boys doing the hard work.”
The Waratahs started strongly and rocked the Brumbies when Alofa Alofa picked up a misdirected pass and ran 60 meters to score.
The Brumbies fought their way back into the match in the second part of the first spell and drew level with Henry Speight's try and a penalty to Christian Lealiifano.
But the Waratahs, with a Bernard Foley penalty, took an 11-8 lead to half-time and took a strong step towards victory with Beale's try in the eighth minute of the second half. They then held out against the Brumbies who tried tenaciously to fight their way back into the game.
Foley's last penalty in the 72nd minute and his try a few minutes later put the match out of reach.
“We had more than enough opportunities inside their 22 to come away with a lot of points and you've got to give credit to the way the New South Wales guys held on,” said Brumbies captain Ben Mowen.
“They defended really well, they dismantled our maul which has been a real strength of ours and they're obviously the best defensive side in the competition for a reason.”