Crusaders skipper Kieran Read believes his side's defensive effort sealed Saturday's play-off win against the Reds in Christchurch.
The seven-time champions scored four tries, in the 38-9 rout, and Read feels they are striking form at just the right time.
"That was pretty pleasing," he said.
"I guess it's good to hit your straps at this time of year. It was a great start from our guys which set the tone pretty early and it continued on from there.
"I think in finals games defence is where your character shows and probably where it's won.
"Certainly, we stepped up there from last week and I guess the conditions probably helped.
"We were able to play a bit of free-flowing footy which is nice as well."
The Crusaders will now attempt to end a title drought which goes back to 2008.
They remain unbeaten in play-offs matches in Christchurch where the Reds haven't won since 1998.
The Crusaders will play either the Chiefs or the Bulls in next weekend's semi-finals depending on the outcome of Sunday's match between the Brumbies and the Cheetahs.
If the third-ranked Brumbies beat the sixth-ranked Cheetahs, the Crusaders will play the Chiefs, who are the defending champions, but if the Cheetahs win they will travel to South Africa to face the Bulls.