Crusaders captain Kieran Read praised his side's forward effort after Saturday's semi-final win over the Sharks in Christchurch.
The talk before the match was whether the Crusaders would be able to match the feared Sharks pack, but instead it was the men from Durban who lost line-outs, scrums and eventually conceded a try from a line-out drive.
"We knew that's where the game was going to be won or lost," said Read.
"We started really well and were able to put a lot of pressure on them.
"We played at a pretty high tempo early which probably set the scene."
No South African side has ever won a play-off match in New Zealand and the Sharks never looked like changing that record, leaving the skipper, hooker Bismarck Du Plessis distraught as not only did his pack take a pounding but the backs had a nightmare time from well directed kicks by Crusaders full-back Israel Dagg.
"It was absolutely, extremely disappointing," said Du Plessis.
"Everything we worked on in the last two weeks - we couldn't field the high balls, we didn't play in the right areas - I'm extremely disappointed in our performance."