A strong second half helped the Highlanders beat the Hurricanes 38-21 in the final game of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.
A change to coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand forced Sunday's clash between the Blues and champions Crusaders to be cancelled, however, the Highlanders' meeting with the Hurricanes went ahead behind closed doors on Saturday.
Two tries apiece saw the Highlanders and Hurricanes – who had three tries disallowed – level 14-14 at half-time without a crowd in Dunedin.
Vince Aso and Jamie Booth crossed over for the Hurricanes, while Ngane Punivai and Highlanders co-captain Ash Dixon responded prior to the interval.
A Josh Ioane penalty and Michael Collins' try gave the Highlanders a 10-point lead early in the second half, before they were awarded a penalty try as Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea received a yellow card for a professional foul.
The Highlanders made the most of their numerical advantage after Mitch Hunt sprinted away to cross over, while Peter Umaga-Jensen claimed a consolation try for the Hurricanes with seven minutes remaining.
With the loss, the Hurricanes saw their five-game winning streak ended as they missed the chance to leapfrog the Blues into second place in the standings, while the Highlanders finished fourth in the five-team competition.