Sportal.co.nz 22.Jul.2012Getty Images
Captain Richie McCaw said after the 28-13 win, 23 of the points provided by Dan Carter's goal-kicking boots – left and right, that the Crusaders had denied the Bulls the chance to build any momentum during the first half.
"We limited our mistakes, our discipline was good and because of that we applied pressure and for a fair part of that game that's what we did," he told SKY Sport.
While they had conceded a late try, to give up two in the game, McCaw said that had been disappointing, but earlier in the game when it mattered the side had shown they had what it required to win playoff games with a solid display of defence.
"I thought all the guys showed good composure and we made some good decisions which resulted in getting the points," he said.
The period after half-time when the Bulls pressured by running the ball had been crucial but the Crusaders managed to deny them a sniff and that was vital in the end result.
"We held them out and sometimes that can give you a lift, and I think that is what happened."
The game had been typical of the types of encounters the teams had played in playoffs and with the win under their belt it was a case of looking ahead to the semi-finals.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies said the penalties conceded during the first half had prevented the side getting into the game.
"The Crusaders kept putting us under pressure and they were putting points on the board. They played really well tonight and credit to them for this victory," he said.
"We couldn't get our game on the go right from the start, that makes it really difficult when you start playing catch-up rugby," he said.
He had been proud of his side for their season but on the night there had been too many mistakes.
Lock Sam Whitelock, who had a big game defensively, said the Crusaders started out well and played well in some good patches but there were still areas for improvement.
There had been some issues in the scrum which would also need attention.
"They had the best lineout defence in the competition and we really had to be on our game. We had a missed night, a couple of times we won the ball but our delivery was poor. That is something we need to make sure we are improving on.
"If you're disciplined you are going to get the rub of the green and that happened tonight," he said.