The Hurricanes have kept their push for a home quarter-final alive with a thumping 45-22 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Wellington on Saturday.
The Rebels needed to win Saturday night's Super Rugby Pacific match to have any hope of leapfrogging the Highlanders into eighth spot but the Hurricanes helped their fellow Kiwi side out with a convincing performance, running in seven tries to three to secure the bonus-point victory.
The result means the Rebels (3-10) can only finish ninth at best, with next week's match against the Highlanders now a dead rubber while the fifth-placed Hurricanes (8-5) are still a chance of snaring fourth spot and the home quarter-final that comes with it as they sit just three points behind the Chiefs.
Winger Julian Savea opened the scoring in the third minute when he put on his turbo after the Hurricanes had swung it to the right from the lineout.
Seven minutes later, the Hurricanes pulled off an even smoother lineout move to allow outside centre Billy Proctor to touch down under the posts.
Alarm bells were ringing for the Rebels in the 19th minute when they were unable to stop a rolling maul that led to flanker Blake Gibson touching down.
The Rebels scored their first try in the 23rd minute when Lukas Ripley burst over.
Ripley's second try in the 50th minute kept the margin at a manageable 11 points but the Hurricanes held firm when the pressure was at its hottest, running in the next three tries to secure victory.
Hurricanes 45 [Julian Savea, Billy Proctor, Blake Gibson, James Blackwell, Siua Maile, Jordie Barrett, Aidan Morgan tries; Barrett 5 con]
Rebels 22 [Lukas Ripley 3 tries; Matt To’omua pen, 2 con]
- Additional reporting by AAP