The Crusaders secured their spot at the top of the New Zealand conference after a 16-9 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
The match was evenly contested and a try from Robbie Fruean shortly after half-time proved to be the difference between the sides in the end.
Fruean was the beneficiary of some great work by Zac Guildford, who did all the hard work in the build-up to the try. Guildford received the ball inside his own half before setting on a mazy run, which saw him beating several Hurricanes defenders. He was stopped just in front of the try-line but managed to get his pass away to Fruean who crossed over in the corner.
The result was a sad one for All Black stars Andrew Hore, Ma'a Nonu and Neemia Tialata, who played in their last match for the Wellington-based franchise.
It was a physical encounter but in the end the Crusaders' forwards paved the way to victory with a clinical effort especially at the set pieces.
Among the backs, Dan Carter was his usual steady self and Guildford and Tom Marshall proved a handful for the Hurricanes defence with several impressive runs from the back.
For the Hurricanes, Tialata had a storming game up front while Nonu and Aaron Cruden were the best performers in the back-line.
The Crusaders will now be rooting for the Cheetahs to beat the Stormers in the final match of the round-robin competition.
If the Bloemfontein-based franchise manage to shut out the Stormers the Crusaders will finish second on the table. This will give them a well-earned break, as they will then only return to action in the semi-finals.
Pen: Carter 2
Pen: Cruden 3
Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Tu Umaga-Marshall.
Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Laurence Corlett, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Richard Buckman.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)