The Crusaders brushed aside the Stormers 45-28 at AMI Park but saw playmaker Richie Mo'unga suffer a fractured jaw.
Mo'unga needs surgery and will be out for at least a couple of months, after being injured when making a tackle.
Having been arguably the most eye-catching No.10 in New Zealand in the first two rounds of Super Rugby, Mo'unga's absence will come as a blow to Scott Robertson's side.
The Crusaders kept up their record of never having lost to the Stormers at home, and they've now won 13 in a row at home against teams from outside New Zealand.
The visitors slipped to their ninth consecutive defeat in New Zealand as they were blown away in the first 20 minutes, conceding 26 points without reply.
Left winger George Bridge produced a classy one-handed finish near the left touchline to get the Crusaders off and running in the sixth minute.
Mo'unga helped set up the second, in the same corner, when he freed up Codie Taylor who did well to stay infield and touch down despite the efforts of Seabelo Senatla.
The defending champions grabbed their third try in the 16th minute as Billy Harmon went over in his run-on debut, and soon after Bryn Hall cantered in under the posts.
The South Africans got on the scoreboard when JC van Rensburg burst over in the 33rd minute. But the home side had the last laugh in the first half when Bridge got his second try to put them 31-7 ahead.
The Stormers were much improved after the break, cutting the deficit straight away when Wilco Louw powered over from close range.
They ended a 10-minute spell deep in Crusaders territory when JD Shickerling burrowed over, and SP Marais' third successful conversion got them within 10 points.
Mo'unga was instrumental in the Crusaders' next try, timing his pass well for Seta Tamanivalu to scythe between two Stormers defenders and dot down. And the playmaker then scored and converted his own try to make it 45-21.
The visitors rallied once again as substitute prop Steven Kitshoff powered over and Marais maintained his perfect kicking record from the tee this season with the conversion.
The Crusaders are 2/25 to win the Super Rugby final.
Meanwhile, New Zealand are 11/10 to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
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