Never fear: Bernard Foley and the young Waratahs don't fear the Crusaders. Photo: Wolter Peeters
History can take a walk on Saturday night.
A new generation of Waratahs players, led by Test No.10 Bernard Foley, are not shackled with the legacy of 11 straight losses to the most feared and feted dynasty in Super Rugby.
Foley has played the Crusaders once.
"It's more [relevant] that you're in the grand final. If it's tight at the end you have to step up," he said. "We just have to have belief in the players that everyone's going to do their job. If it's not good enough on the night, then we'll sit back and lick our wounds, but if it is, that would be pretty successful."
The Waratahs led 22-10 for most of Foley's one encounter in Christchurch more than a year ago, until Dan Carter chipped away at the gap with his boot and Berrick Barnes missed a match-winning kick after the bell.
For many watching it was another inevitable loss. But for Foley, Israel Folau and many others it was the first, and they have no intention of letting a second final go that way.
"We were up 15-5 at half-time, then they came back and won by one point [23-22]," Foley said.
"We were unlucky to lose that one I thought, [I] thought we'd done enough to win, but [Dan Carter] showed some pretty good composure at the end there and won it for them."
Which is why the semi-final win against the ACT Brumbies on Saturday will be banked and drawn upon many times this week and beyond.
After a year of big score lines, the Waratahs showed their supporters, detractors and, most importantly, themselves, that they can fight hard and long for a win.
"That's the most impressive thing about the win and the most satisfying, that it was such a grind and we haven't been in one for so long this year," Foley said.
"We have in patches or halves, and then we've been lucky enough to blow it out and come over sides. But it was very satisfying on Saturday night having to be in the grind for 75 minutes with our backs to the wall.
"For our defence to be so united and hold up to the challenges the Brumbies threw at us, was very pleasing, and we can take a lot out of that."
Nevertheless, Carter's shadow looms large over the game this week.
It will be a showdown worth waiting for when the All Blacks centurion and his playmaking partner Colin Slade face off against Foley and Kurtley Beale.
"[Carter]'s got all the class and all the experience you can want in a footballer, he's world-best and he's been there for a long time," Foley said.
"His composure and ability to influence a game and control the match, to do it on their terms, is a massive strength of theirs."
Carter was named in the All Blacks squad on Monday for the Rugby Championship, capping an effortless return from a six-month sabbatical with his first Test squad inclusion since November last year.
Despite battling a case of the yips in his goal-kicking performance against the Sharks at the weekend, Carter was back to his best elsewhere.
"You've got to take time and space away from him," Foley said. "That's by nullifying the forwards firstly - once they get a roll on with their pack they have some big ball runners ... [but Carter's] running game is probably undervalued because he can really take on a line as well as distribute to the likes of [full-back] Israel Dagg and [winger Nemani] Nadolo out on the end."
A decade-long drought could end at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night. The Waratahs have not lost a game at home this season and don't plan on stopping now.
"The Crusaders are littered with All Blacks, so whenever you come up against international players you always want to test yourselves against them and try to get one over them," Foley said.
"To play against a Crusaders side with so much strength across the board, out at Homebush, will be a massive achievement."