Read 'gutted' as bounce beats them
Read 'gutted' as bounce beats themSHARE
It was a bitterly disappointed Crusaders captain Kieran Read who felt 'the bounce of the ball' favoured the Chiefs on Saturday.
A dramatic 17-point burst in the second-half carried the defending champion Chiefs into a second successive Super Rugby Final, with a 20-19 victory over the Crusaders in Hamilton.
The golden 10-minute spell lifted them from 3-9 down to a 20-9 lead, before the home team grimly held out a late Crusaders charge in a match played at a frantic pace.
Read spoke of being "incredibly disappointed" and being "gutted", but paid credit to the Chiefs.
"It's their moment and they're doing it well," Read said, admitting that the 10-minute blitz was just too much for his team.
"There are moments in these games that turn them and they certainly got those bounces of the ball," the Crusaders captain said.
"They were possibly that little bit more clinical," he said of the Chiefs' overall performance, adding: "W didn't get what we needed from this game – it is gutting and really hurting."
He defended the decision when – with six minutes to go – they took a penalty when they could have gone for a line-out and a possible match-winning try.
"We backed ourselves to get back down there and work out some plays," Read said.
"We had a chance to get back down there and get some points, and didn't come away with it."
Asked about having been knocked out in he semifinals for the fourth time in the last five years, and having been runners-up once, the captain admitted the seven-time champions had expected to go all the way again.
"It is not successful from our point of view," Read said, adding: We got to be better than this."