Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says he’s proud his men were able to step up and deliver the perfect Super Rugby send-off for legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.
The New Zealand outfit scored a hard-fought 37-24 victory at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
It marked Carter’s final appearance in the competition before he joins French club Racing Metro, while McCaw is expected to announce his retirement.
“There were a lot of different motivations out there today,” said Blackadder.
“The motivation from the group was to finish strongly and also, too, we were sending off a few men and I know the boys really showed out there they put in for each other.
“There’s not much more you could ask.”
Skipper Kieran Read said it was a great way to farewell the pair.
“Certainly the motivation in sending those guys off was pretty high,” he said.
“They’re living legends – they’ll go down in world rugby (history), never mind Crusaders rugby.
“It’s a pretty tough battle coming to Canberra so we certainly had to be up if we were to stand any chance (of winning).”
The triumph means McCaw is now the only player in the world to win 100 Super Rugby matches and 100 Tests.
He and Carter have amassed seven Super Rugby titles between them, but an eighth was too far a reach in 2015 in which they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
McCaw said he’d loved every minute of his 15 seasons in red but gave no hint to what was next.
“It’s a great place to play and the bunch of fellas that you get to play alongside is great every week,” he said at a post-match presentation.
“These last few weeks, I just wanted to go out and have a smile on my face and enjoy putting on that jersey and potentially it probably will be the last one – definitely with my mate here DC (Carter).”
Carter said it was really pleasing to see how much the Crusaders jersey meant to the players.
“To put in a performance like that … it’s hugely satisfying,” he said.