Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson believes his side's torrid beginning to the 2016 competition is what cost them.
Gibson was speaking after his side's 34-28 loss to a resurgent Blues team in Auckland.
"Those moments we'll dwell on and say we weren't good enough … Our start probably hurt us the most… they were games we needed to get results out of. What I am proud about is how the boys came back from that difficult start and got us back in contention. Finishing off and not making the finals is disappointing and leaves a sense of unfulfilment," Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Waratahs boss believes the blooding of his young players this season as successful but laments the amount of experience he's losing.
"If we look at next year's team, it's going to be youthful and those players are going to benefit from their introduction this year … We've got a lot of experience we're going to lose for a second year in a row, so that has to happen in every team," Gibson said