South Africa's last horse in the race for Super 14 honours, the Natal Sharks, fell at the second last hurdle on Saturday and it wasn't pretty.
The 28-13 win by the the Waratahs was primarily down to a rock solid defence which has served the Australians well right throughout the tournament. The Sharks battled to get over the advantage line, being driven back time and again.
This is by no means a criticism of the Waratahs – I have always maintained that to win big games and tournaments you have to first get your defence in order. They have and this makes for a great final against the Crusaders.
The Crusaders, the most successful side in the tournament's history, made 5 changes to their line-up for the match against the Hurricanes.
It showed as they dominated the Hurricanes 33-22 with Daniel Carter in ominous kicking form. As we all saw once the team had secured top spot it was hard to push themselves but that all changed on Saturday.
With Carter now getting some game time under his belt, home advantage and the experience of playing in their 10th final, the Crusaders are going to take some beating.
With the Waratah's defence this is not a foregone conclusion and should provide rugby with a great final.
IRB's CONSULTANT COACHES
I am delighted to be given the opportunity to join the team of consultant coaches and work on special projects within the Tier 2 and 3 countries around the world.
This forms part of the IRB's Strategic Investment Programme which will see £48 million invested in intensive programmes between 2009 and 2012.
I will be visiting Fiji and Samoa early in June for a series of clinics which will coincide with the IRB Pacific Nations Cup clash between the two on June 7 in Fiji. It is also envisaged that I will be assisting several European countries later in the year.
I am thrilled to be given the chance to get back into rugby particularly working with the countries who most need the help. It is an area I am very familiar with and hopefully I can contribute in some way to the growth and development of rugby in those countries.
Jake White speaking to Mike Trapido (Mail & Guardian)