New South Wales Waratahs will play the Canterbury Crusaders in the Super Rugby final after an epic 26-8 win over the ACT Brumbies in Sydney on Saturday. The Waratahs, who finished the regular season seven points clear at the top, needed an immense defensive effort to hold out the Brumbies in a torrid Australian derby before clinching victory with a brilliant team try in the final minutes. The Waratahs will now take on the seven-time champion Crusaders in Sydney in next weekend’s final after the Kiwis thrashed South Africa’s Coastal Sharks 38-6 in the other semi-final in Christchurch. We’ve talked about taking opportunities but we had to make them tonight and we came up with some tries that we built under pressure and we take that Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper The Sydneysiders will be fronting up for their third Super Rugby final after losing to the Crusaders in the 2005 and 2008 title deciders. While the Waratahs out-scored the Brumbies three-tries-to-one, it was their unstinting defence which won them the titanic game after keeping the two-time winners scoreless in the second half. The Brumbies were camped on their try line for long periods in the second half, trailing 16-8 before the Waratahs clinched victory with a try to fly-half Bernard Foley four minutes from time. “We’ve talked about taking opportunities but we had to make them tonight and we came up with some tries that we built under pressure and we take that,” said Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper. “They’re a tough outfit but we’re in the final and I’m stoked.” Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said: “We had more than enough opportunities inside their quarter to come away with a lot of points but you have to give credit to the way the New South Wales guys held on. “They defended really well, they dismantled our maul which has been a real strength of ours and they’re obviously the best defensive side in the competition for a reason.” The Crusaders out-scored the Bismarck du Plessis-led Sharks five-tries-to-nil and continued a remarkable record of never having lost any of the 16 play-off matches they have hosted. The talk before the match was whether the Crusaders would be able to match the feared Sharks forwards, but instead it was the Sharks who lost line-outs and scrums, and eventually conceded a try from a line-out drive. “We knew that’s where the game was going to be won or lost,” said Crusaders captain Kieran Read. “We started really well and were able to put a lot of pressure on them. We played at a pretty high tempo early which probably set the scene.” Du Plessis was left distraught as not only was his pack pounded but the backs had a nightmare time from well directed kicks by Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg. “It was absolutely, extremely disappointing. Everything we worked on in the last two weeks – we couldn’t field the high balls, we didn’t play in the right areas – I’m extremely disappointed in our performance,” he said. In the second half the Crusaders ran the Sharks pack to a standstill as they produced tries by Nemani Nadolo, Willi Heinz, Johnny McNicholl and Matt Todd to add to Read’s first-half try.