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McCaw and Blackadder unhappy with title drought

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James Mortimer     28 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Since 2007 the Crusaders have lost four semi-finals, three times to the Bulls (in South Africa), and now for the first time on New Zealand soil and the first semi-final loss to an Australasian franchise.

The Crusaders pedigree has long been confirmed with seven glorious campaigns, but the inability to crack the champagne for crown number eight is beginning to nag at the proud franchise.

Certainly their continued excellence in reaching the Super Rugby Finals Series, 2012's being there 14th time in the knockout stages, has only increased the pressure.

The fact that the Crusaders are always in the hunt in the business end of the season is something the team is proud of, but captain Richie McCaw said they were not there just to provide a team.

The All Blacks skipper is well aware to what is required to win big matches, and there was disapointment that the Crusaders couldn't close out this season with a championship - with belief strong among their camp that they could go all the way.

"The feeling that the boys have got is that we all just didn't quite nail it," McCaw said.

The flanker, featuring at number eight recently for both the Crusaders and All Blacks, didn't deny it was the Chiefs that were able to close out the seven-time champions.

"We weren't allowed to (play) admittedly, but it hurts."

"You don't come just to make up the numbers at playoff time."

"I think that's always been the attitude because of what the team's done before.

"When you get to finals footy, you're there to perform then and there."

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder expected some questions to be asked considering the class of the Crusaders and their inability to win the title, despite consistently strong seasons throughout Super Rugby.

"For years we've had a championship winning team and we've failed to deliver the goods so we have every reason to be under the blow torch and believe me certainly not happy with where we're at, and it's bloody disappointing," he said.

"It hurts when you lose and your team doesn't perform as well as you prepared them to play."

"That's sport and life, you've got to accept it. The Chiefs certainly deserved their victory."