The Bulls were no match for the classy Crusaders as the hosts marched to a 27-0 Super Rugby victory in Timaru on Saturday.
Between them these teams have won the last six Super Rugby titles but only one side looked like championship contenders.
Outmuscled, outhussled, outplayed - outclassed! The Bulls just didn't pitch up against a Crusaders team in rampant form.
It's the first time since 1999 that the men from Pretoria have failed to get on the scoreboard in a Super Rugby game and unless they can turn their form around in a big way - and soon - they can forget about defending their title.
The Crusaders were full value for their win as they controlled proceedings brilliantly, scoring three tries and forcing the Bulls into constant mistakes.
Starved of possession in the first half, the Bulls kicked for territory on the rare occasions they got their hands on the ball. Soon they were forced to try keep ball in hand to get back in the game but were beaten to almost every breakdown and turnovers became the norm.
As bad as the Bulls were, the Crusaders were outstanding. If anything the scoreline flatters the visitors since Matt Berquist missed a number of shots at goal.
Chris Jack had a storming game, giving Mr. Line-out Victor Matfield plenty of trouble, while Robbie Fruean and Sonny Bill Williams showed once again that they are the form midfield pairing in the competition.
It was one-way traffic in the first half as the Crusaders completely dominated possession. The Bulls rarely threatened to score and were 8-0 down after fifteen minutes when Williams scored a scintillating solo try.
SBW went straight through opposite number Wynand Olivier to burst clear, sprint 35 metres before muscling his way past the cover defence to score.
Berquist was not having a great night from the kicking tee and missed the conversion but did land three penalties by the half-time break to give the hosts a 14-0 lead.
It was a similar story in the second half and it took just three minutes after the restart for hosts to grab another try as full-back Israel Dagg powered through weak tackles from Pierre Spies and Fourie du Preez.
Berquist added another penalty as the Bulls' frustration showed before replacement back Tom Marshall added the hosts' third try in the closing stages, as Gerhard van den Heever missed a tackle.
The Bulls woes were compounded by the sight of lock Flip van der Merwe leaving the field with a serious facial injury.
The Chiefs are next up for the Crusaders while the Bulls now head to Australia to face the Reds.
Tries: Williams, Dagg, Marshall
Pens: Berquist 4
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Matt Berquist, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (capt), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Tom Marshall, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Mornť Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Derick KuŁn, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Venue: Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)