25th April 2010 15:26
Crusaders captain Richie McCaw admitted his side's shock 24-16 Super 14 defeat to the Western Force in Perth on Friday was a "wake-up call".
Besides losing the match, the seven-time Super Rugby champs were crucially denied a losing bonus point which prevented them from regaining the top spot on the Super 14 table.
The Crusaders were also outscored three tries to one as Pek Cowan, Matthew Hodgson and Ben Whittaker touched down in the second half as the Force won for only the third time in ten matches.
The Crusaders loss left the top four teams in the tournament level with 34 points each.
"The Force were too good for us," said McCaw.
"We put ourselves under too much pressure. It was a good game up front, but we turned it over too much, and you just can't do that."
McCaw said the Crusaders didn't take the Force lightly.
"We were under no illusions this week coming into the match," McCaw said.
"You have to be up for every game. It's a wake-up call."
Force captain Nathan Sharpe said it was a "gutsy effort" by his side.
"We got the result in the end," Sharpe said.
"We've had a hard season. It was first and foremost about playing for each other."
Sharpe said his team didn't panic while trailing at half-time.
"We were confident with what we were doing," Sharpe said. "We had a lot of ball but we hadn't quite got the result."