SYDNEY, - Michael Cheika hailed the courage and resilience of his charges after watching the NSW Waratahs finally claim their maiden Super Rugby championship with a heart-stopping 33-32 final triumph over the Crusaders on Saturday night.
A pressure-filled, 45-metre, last-minute penalty goal from five-eighth Bernard Foley snatched the Waratahs victory from the jaws of defeat in a drama-charged conclusion to a classic title decider.
The Crusaders paid the ultimate price for champion flanker Richie McCaw's ruck infringement that allowed the ice-cool Foley to slot the winning goal with just seconds remaining.
"I was hitting them well all night and it was probably right on my distance. I had to give it my all and the rugby gods were on our side," Foley said.
A record Super Rugby crowd of almost 62,000 the most for a NSW home game in more than 100 years witnessed the historic victory.
Jubilant captain Michael Hooper admitted his heart was in his mouth watching Foley's kick.
"I thought it went under, but it went over and I was ecstatic," he said.
Two more Slade penalties looked to have broken Waratahs hearts yet again until Foley stepped up to have the heroic final say.