The Waratahs' run to the semi-finals was due in part to some good luck and the side's resilience and showed how much they have improved in 12 months after finishing 16th out of 18 teams past year with only four wins.
The former Munster and Ireland outhalf joined the coaching ticket back in January as assistant coach to Scott Robertson and has earned high praise in New Zealand for the positive impact he's had on the side.
Apart from the venue, next Saturday's final will be a repeat of last year's showdown when the Crusaders beat the Lions 25-17 in Johannesburg to claim their eighth Super crown.
Crusaders 30 (Richie Mo'unga, George Bridge, David Havili, Braydon Ennor tries; Mo'unga 2 con, 2 pen) Hurricanes 12 (Julian Savea, Ben Lam tries; Beauden Barrett con).
It was also reminiscent of a similar performance by Daryl Gibson's side when they blasted out to a 29-0 lead against the Crusaders in Christchurch before being ground down and overhauled to lose 31-29.
Gibson wasn't looking for excuses in the game against the Lions, which saw them struggle when substitute Damien Fitzpatrick was sin-binned only minutes after coming on in the second half.
The Lions burst into life after a slow start, the excellent Smith taking advantage of poor defending to wriggle his way through and touch down, then Aphiwe Dyantyi conjured up a brilliant 80-metre solo score before Marx touched down to put them in front for the first time.
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The 'Canes lost four of their final five matches to end the regular season, and enter tonight's match having never won a playoff match against the Crusaders.
The visitors ended the match with Lam racing over the line to break the record for most tries in a Super Rugby season as the winger scored his 16th of the campaign.
That made it imperative the Hurricanes score first in the second half.
Center Jack Goodhue made a long run back into the Hurricanes 22 and linked quickly with All Black captain Kieran Read who drove the ball toward the line.
"Richie's done it all year".
Hurricanes skipper Brad Shields, playing his last game before heading to England, said the turnover proved costly.
The coaching duo produced a far more abrasive and competitive pack, which gave an all-star backline the ability to exploit the quick, clean ball their forwards were delivering.
"The pressure they applied to get themselves back into the game is what we planned for".