The Crusaders won their all-New Zealand semi-final against the Wellington Hurricanes 33-22.
In Sydney, the Sharks began brightly but wilted against the uncompromising NSW defence, and although the Sharks' scrum was far superior their line-out was in terrible trouble from the start.
"All credit to the Waratahs, I thought they were outstanding tonight, especially their defence - they put us under a lot of pressure," Johann Muller, Sharks captain, said.
|"All credit to the Waratahs, I thought they were outstanding tonight... "|
"Also in the first half our line-out didn't function the way we wanted it to."
The Sharks were first on the scoreboard when flyhalf Ruan Pienaar kicked an early drop goal, which was answered by a Kurtley Beale penalty shortly after to make it 3-3.
The Waratahs then took the lead when Sharks inside centre Francois Steyn spilled the ball under pressure, with NSW winger Lote Tuqiri scooping it up and racing 22 metres to score.
The home side scored again soon after when 18-year-old outside centre Rob Horne finished off an impressive attacking move and crossed in the corner.
Steyn kicked a penalty from 50 metres out to narrow the gap to 15-6 at halftime, giving the visitors some hope.
However the Waratahs began swiftly in the second half when Beale scored a try out wide and scrumhalf Luke Burgess intercepted a pass from the base of the scrum before strolling over untouched.
The Waratahs should have been out of sight at this stage but Beale's woeful goal-kicking - one conversion from the first four attempts, and a missed penalty kick - meant the lead was only 25-6.
With 10 minutes remaining, Craig Burden, Sharks replacement hooker, barged over under the posts for a converted try to make it 25-13, but NSW had the final say when Beale kicked a drop-goal three minutes from fulltime to make sure of victory.