The Chiefs routed the Melbourne Rebels 8-59 to secure another playoff spot at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Shaun Stevenson scored a hat-trick and set-up a try as the Chiefs ran in nine tries to claim another Super Rugby playoff place after a dominant display in Australia.
The Chiefs have now qualified for the Super Rugby knock-outs for the eighth season in a row.
Sam Cane, Stevenson and Lachlan Boshier, crossed for the visitors to open up a 21-3 halftime lead.
The Rebels had not scored a first-half point in their previous two Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition, and they were lucky to get three.
Reece Hodge’s sole penalty was all the Rebels had to show for a decent half.
The defeat by Colin Cooper’s charges ends a disappointing season for the Rebels, who still had a chance at the quarter-finals if they could get a big win.
Sean Wainui and Stevenson scored soon after the interval to kill the game as a contest and keep the Rebels from the playoffs.
Anton Lienert-Brown also got in on the act before Jack Debreczeni scored and converted, to pile the misery on his former team.
The standoff collected 17 points in the rout.
Matt Philip dotted down for his side’s only five-pointer, on 68 minutes.
Marty McKenzie’s try, four minutes later, brought up the half-century and the utility back’s 100th Super Rugby point.
Stevenson still had time to collect his third, his score brought up the most points conceded by the Rebels at AAMI Park.
Super Rugby Video Highlights, Round 18: Rebels versus Chiefs, AAMI Park, Melbourne
This was an abject failure by Dave Wessels’ men, who were humiliated in front of their hopeful fans.
But, it’s the hope that kills you.
A win for the hosts would have given them their first playoff appearance in their nine-year tournament history, instead, they crumbled meekly.
Quade Cooper, Hodge and Haylett-Petty had a nightmare.
The Chiefs dominated every aspect of the opening stanza.
They enjoyed 70% possession and 65% territory to lead by 18 thanks to three converted tries.
A physical contest began with an injury apiece inside 11 minutes
Alex Nankivell left the field with a knee injury for the Chiefs, while Marika Koroibete walked off after being knocked out.
The big winger got his head on the wrong side of a tackle on Shaun Stevenson and was knocked out, cold.
The Chiefs struck soon afterwards through captain Cane.
It was a stunning try with multiple players getting involved.
Cane finished off a sensational counter-attack.
Debreczeni started with a break from his 22 after a poor kick from Cooper; he played Lienert-Brown on his inside.
Lienert-Brown raced forward, slipped a pass to Brad Webber, who offloaded to Angus Ta’avao, in support inside the 22.
The prop cut inside and sent Cane away under the sticks.
Hodge put the Rebels on the board with a 19th-minute penalty after a botched lineout had earlier taken away a similar opportunity for three points.
But the visitors hit back with another counter-attack.
It all started with another poor kick from Cooper.
The standoff’s grubber hit Stevenson’s knees and bounced forward for the winger to collect.
The 22-year-old raced away 50 metres untouched to score under the posts.
Debreczeni’s second conversion from in front extended the away team’s lead.
Stevenson should have scored a minute later, but Solomon Alaimalo did not see the winger on his outside, instead, opting for an inside ball which was lost forward.
Wessels would have been left fuming, on the stroke of halftime, with what is known as a ‘coach killer.’
His side the chance to clear to touch from a scrum inside their 22, but chose to run the ball.
Hodge’s loose pass was picked up by Stevenson, who danced through several defenders before Cooper tackled him, short.
Before the winger went down, he passed to Boshier, on his outside, for their team’s third.
Terrible start to the second half by the home team
Wainui scored three minutes after the restart.
The Rebels fell off tackles as the Chiefs spread the ball wide to the winger to dot down in the corner.
It was, however, the first try that did not come from a Melbourne mistake.
Lienert-Brown, the Chiefs’ Players’ Player of the Year, scored from another poor kick, this time by Hodge.
Mistakes continued as five of the Hamilton side’s tries came from terrible kicking.
Cooper was erratic, Hodge and Haylett-Petty, disastrous.
All three’s kicking and poor handling led to five-pointers.
Stevenson got his second from Haylett-Petty’s disastrous clearance.
Alaimalo’s pinpoint kick was gathered on the wing by Tumua Manu, who popped the ball inside to Stevenson to seal the deal.
Next, Weber handed off Cooper from a midfield scrum.
The scrumhalf shimmied across the gain-line, fended Cooper off, and darted through to the 22 before putting Debreczeni in for the sixth try.
Matt Philip scored with less than 12 minutes remaining, after selling an outrageous dummy, but it was meaningless.
McKenzie brought up the fifty after another mistake in midfield by the hosts.
Cooper dropped a straight-forward pass, McKenzie toed the ball forward, pouncing on the bouncing ball for another.
Cooper had, by now, kicked two bad kicks that led to tries; knocked one into the path of McKenzie, and been shrugged off by the smaller Weber for his opposite number’s try.
This will be a game he will want to forget.
Stevenson’s hat-trick rounded off the demolition job.
Final Score: Rebels 8 (3) Chiefs 59 (21)
Tries – Philip
Pen – Hodge
Tries – Cane, Stevenson (3), Boshier, Wainui, Lienert-Brown, Debreczeni, M. McKenzie
Con – Debreczeni (7), M. McKenzie
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Matt To’omua. 23 Campbell Magnay.
15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Tumua Manu.