The Crusaders have kept their Super Rugby season alive with a clinical 28-13 playoff win over the Bulls in Christchurch tonight.
They will now play New Zealand Conference rivals the Chiefs on Friday night in Hamilton after the Sharks shocked the Reds 30-15 in Brisbane in the other eliminator to set up a semi-final against the table-topping Stormers.
The Crusaders will fancy their chances of advancing to the final against a Chiefs side who have loss two matches on the trot, have little finals pedigree and will undoubtedly hold some trepidation after watching Richie and co. do the business tonight.
The seven-time champions, with big time players all over the park, were at their ruthless best with a steady combination of physicality and discipline that left the Bulls simply shell-shocked.
Thriving off the Bulls every misjudgement was Daniel Carter who controlled the game from start to finish with 23 points and set up his team's only try to Zac Guildford.
In a match billed as the battle of the 10s Carter was all over his Springbok opposite Morne Styen, whose night was mainly an unhappy one.
Carter meanwhile ran the show with his full bag of tricks: running 15 times for 58 metres while managing three off-loads, three broken tackles and one turnover to boot.
His 9/10 night was only possible because of his forwards, who fronted up against the big Bulls' pack supremely, dominating the contact zone and pouncing on loose ball.
While the plan to run the men from Pretoria off their feet had its benefits, playoff football is all about ticking the scoreboard over and that is what the Crusaders did from the outset when Carter opened the scoring with a long range penalty, following a good kick by Andy Ellis and an even better chase by Israel Dagg that forced the turnover.
In a contest that promised to be physical, Robbie Fruean delivered the first real hammer blow on Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner before Carter extended the lead to 6-0 following a Dean Greyling infringement at ruck time.
With the weight of territory and possession behind them, and quick ball to boot, it was just a matter of time before the Crusaders would make their superiority pay, and so it proved when Carter delivered the perfect flat ball to Guildford who cantered over for a beautifully worked try.
The Carter show was in full flight at this stage and just before halftime he induced memories of his winning drop-goal against Ireland on this very ground a month ago with a pivot and turn on his right boot.
It wasn't so long ago a New Zealand crowd would boo such 'boring' play but this is Dan's town and the admiration flowed accordingly.
Carter's wife, former New Zealand hockey player Honor, was similarly impressed.
"Right footed droppie, now he is just showing off," she tweeted.
The other international first five-eighth on show, Steyn, got three points back for the visitors before the interval but at 16-3 down they needed a minor miracle in the second stanza to keep their season alive.
But despite the Bulls' best intentions, Carter's influence continued when he increased the lead to 16 points.
Opposite number Steyn's frustration at his off-night reached a crescendo when he delivered a late hit on DC, and the victim of his lame crime made no mistake as the points just kept on ticking over for the home side.
The Bulls made a semi-game of it with 15 minutes to go when a formidable rolling maul from the set-piece materialised for a non-converted try for flanker Jacques Potgieter.
A consolation try right at the end to Bulls second five-eighth Wynand Olivier gave some respectability to the scoreboard but fittingly DC got the final say with his sixth penalty.
Whether Honor will be pleased about that is debatable but what is certain is that the Bulls 20 hour flight home won't be a enjoyable at all.
Crusaders 28 (Zac Guildford try; Dan Carter six
penalties, one conversion, one drop-goal)
Bulls 13 (Dewald Potgieter Wynand Olivie tries, Morne Steyn one penalty)