Will Jordan scored two tries in an outstanding performance as the Crusaders secured a home Super Rugby Aotearoa title final by beating the Blues 29-6 in Christchurch on Sunday.
Fullback Jordan brushed off five potential tacklers to open the scoring in the fifth minute and delivered the bonus point seven minutes from time by chasing down a David Havili kick.
Defeat without bonus points left the Blues needing a big win over the resurgent Waikato Chiefs at Eden Park next week if they are to provide the opposition in the title-decider for the second year in a row on May 8.
The Crusaders opened up a 12-0 lead when winger Sevu Reece crossed for a second try in the 28th minute and were thereafter able to rely on the defence that has helped them win four straight Super Rugby titles.
The Blues looked dangerous all afternoon and had their best chances in the early exchanges but number eight Hoskins Sotutu was held up over the line by Jordan after a rampaging run and the home side repelled a threatening rolling maul.
Three penalty kicks were the only further scoring for 30 minutes until the hour mark when the Crusaders showed the Blues how to execute the catch-and-drive with hooker Codie Taylor awarded the try to take the lead to 22-6.
Jordan was on hand again 10 minutes from time to end a threatening break from Blues flanker Akira Ioane and a few minutes later was touching down at the other end to provide the final score.
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett was delighted with his team's display in front of a sell-out crowd after defeats in two of their last three matches.
"On the back of a couple of weeks that we haven't been proud of as a team, we showed in that performance what we want," he said. "I'm proud of that performance."