The Crusaders' bid for a third straight Super Rugby title - and 10th overall - continued with a dominant defeat of the Highlanders.
New Zealand and the Highlanders have been boosted by Ben Smith's imminent return to Super Rugby action this week.
Shaun Stevenson scored a hat-trick of tries as the Chiefs tore apart the Rebels to qualify for the Super Rugby play-offs in style.
There was late drama in both Super Rugby matches on Friday, with Scott Higginbotham the hero for the Reds in their win over the Blues.
The Blues have now suffered 10 consecutive losses to the Crusaders after Super Rugby's leaders edged a tense Christchurch encounter.
The Crusaders drew for the second time in three weeks in their match against the Stormers, while the Lions edged a 10-try battle.
Scrum-half Brad Weber dotted down in either half as the Chiefs beat the Sharks 29-23 to record just their fourth Super Rugby win this term.
London Irish continued their spending spree ahead of their return to the Premiership by sealing a move for Waisake Naholo.
Although there was no lasting damage from a chin injury, Ben Smith strained his hamstring on Saturday and will miss six to eight weeks.
Ben Smith damaged his hamstring and suffered a cut chin in a pulsating Super Rugby encounter at Forsyth Barr Stadium.