When you play the Crusaders here things can get really tough
Bulls captain Pierre Spies said that his team were simply unable to cope with the relentless pressure exerted by the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The visitors were comprehensively flattened by the seven-time champions in their play-off on Saturday, and Spies admitted that his team was under pressure from the word go.
He said: "We just couldn't get in the game in that first half and the Crusaders put us under pressure by putting some points on the board.
"We just couldn't get our game on the go from the start and that made it very difficult as we had to play catch-up rugby and when you play the Crusaders here things can get really tough but I am very proud of our team and the way we came back," Spies added.
The Bulls skipper said that the Crusaders' accuracy had given them the upper hand, as the Bulls were effectively starved of opportunities before fighting back in the second half with a more encouraging effort.
"When you play finals rugby you have got to be spot on, you have got to be disciplined, and that is what the Crusaders were tonight, they put us under pressure and they got the points.
"We just couldn't get those chances, once or twice we got going and put some points on the board but there were too many mistakes," he said.
Spies said that despite losing so many experienced players last year the Bulls still backed themselves to do the business, which made their capitulation in Christchurch particularly frustrating.
"We set high goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year and we knew that we had lost a lot of experience but we have the talent in this group and enough experience to go all the way but I think tonight we just fell short," he said.