Carter, McCaw smiling after farewell win
Canberra - The Crusaders sent off their All Blacks greats Richie McCaw and Dan Carter with a fitting Super Rugby win to end the Brumbies' hopes of winning the Australian conference on Saturday.
The seven-time champions will be missing from next week's finals for the first time since 2001 but they were too organised and strong for the Brumbies, winning 37-24 in Canberra.
Carter, the top points-scorer in international rugby, will transfer to French club Racing Metro after this year's World Cup, while All Blacks captain McCaw has indicated he intends to retire after the tournament.
It was a painful home defeat for the Brumbies, who missed the chance to press for the Australian conference title ahead of the NSW Waratahs' final regular round match with the Queensland Reds in Sydney later Saturday.
If the Waratahs win they will condemn the Brumbies to a play-off next weekend against South Africa's Western Stormers in Cape Town.
But it was a crowning night for the two greats of New Zealand rugby - McCaw and Carter.
"It was good to finish on a win, it was a big motivating factor going into this week," Carter said.
"It's been a pretty inconsistent, frustrating year but to finish on a high here in Canberra is pretty satisfying."
McCaw said he finished the Super 15 season with a smile after beating the Crusaders' great Australian rivals.
"To finish off tonight with a performance like that against the old rivals the Brumbies brings a big smile and some great memories and more than likely this will be the last one for me as well," McCaw said.
The Brumbies scored first with one of three tries all off rolling mauls in the opening minutes, but the Crusaders dominated for the majority of the match, finishing four tries to three winners.
It was always going to prove a tall order for the Brumbies to beat the Crusaders with a four-try bonus point and Canterbury's win was their fifth straight against the Canberra-based side.
"We had a crack and I was proud of our effort but we were just not good enough," said skipper Stephen Moore, who was playing his 100th match for the Brumbies.
"The Crusaders put us under pressure, particularly with their kicking game. They turned us around all night and we couldn't just get enough field position."
Giant Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo terrorised the Brumbies' defence with his crashing runs and scored two tries, his second just before half-time coming after he left three defenders strewn on the ground and won the chase to his kick to score in the corner.
The Crusaders led 21-10 at half-time and the Brumbies' task become even harder when Wallaby flanker David Pocock failed to return for the second half with concussion.