The Crusaders scored four converted tries in the last 20 minutes to put 50 points past the battered Blues and the Highlanders edged the Rebels in an 80 point thriller.
The defending champion Crusaders, without several of their All Blacks, were still rampant in Christchurch. The Crusaders comfortably topped the table with 14 wins from 16.
The Crusaders won 54-17 and the Highlanders won 43-37.
The Highlanders, down 19-3 early in the first half, did the Sharks a favour in fashioning a comeback win. Victory for the Rebels would have ended the Sharks play-off prospects. If the Sharks beat the Jaguares on Saturday afternoon they will finish in eighth position and qualify for the play-offs.
Winger George Bridge scored three tries and centres Jack Goodhue got two tries for the Crusaders who finished the regular season with a points differential of 247 and with the best defence in the competition.
Crusaders 54 (G. Bridge 3, J. Goodhue 2, S. Tamanivalu, S. Whitelock, B. Hall tries, R. Mo’unga 4 cons, M. Hunt 3 cons)
Blues 17 (M. Nanai 2, penalty try)
Highlanders 43 (W. Naholo, K. Hammington, T. Walden, T. Li, G. Pleasants-Tate, T. Franklin tries; L. Sopoaga pen, 5 cons)
Rebels 37 (A. Mafi, R. Hodge (3) tries; Hodge 4 cons; J. Debriczini pen)