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.
Ronan O'Gara will take the next step in his coaching career with Top 14 side La Rochelle after the Irishman opted to leave the Crusaders.
The Crusaders ensured they will finish top of the table in Super Rugby after battering the Rebels on Saturday.
The Blues have now suffered 10 consecutive losses to the Crusaders after Super Rugby's leaders edged a tense Christchurch encounter.
Will Genia's head injury was the only disappointment for the Rebels as they thrashed the rock-bottom Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Crusaders drew for the second time in three weeks in their match against the Stormers, while the Lions edged a 10-try battle.
The Crusaders were led by Sevu Reece and Richie Mo'unga as they hammered the Bulls on Friday.
The Sharks were leading the Super Rugby champions when the final hooter sounded, but Mitch Hunt's late intervention denied them.
New Zealand Rugby has signed Sam Whitelock to a new four-year deal, but he will miss the 2020 Super Rugby season to play in Japan.