The Sunwolves, who could well have been playing their last ever Super Rugby match because of uncertainty over the competition's future due to the coronavirus pandemic, were much improved on previous weeks and were within a converted try midway through the second half trailing 21-14.
The Crusaders are now top of the Super Rugby table after securing a 49-14 bonus point win over the Tokyo Sunwolves in Brisbane.
Crusaders scored seven tries to two to move to 23 points, one ahead of fellow New Zealand outfit the Blues, who earlier thumped the Golden Lions 43-10 at Eden Park.
However, the Crusaders stamped their authority on the match, running in four converted tries in the last 20 minutes.
The Crusaders picked up a full-house of five points for their victory and moved to the top of both the New Zealand Conference and the overall log.
James Dargaville, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Keisuke Moriya (co-captain), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (co-captain), 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Ben Hyne, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Efitusi Ma’afu, 1 Nic Mayhew
Substitutes: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Jarred Adams, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Shogo Nakano, 23 Yoshizumi Takeda.
15 George Bridge, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Leicester Faingaanuku, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Bryn Hall (captain), 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Oliver Jager, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Isi Tuungafasi, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Manasa Mataele.
Meanwhile the Vodacom Bulls blew a 17-0 lead after 20 minutes to crash to a heavy defeat against the Reds in their Super Rugby clash in Brisbane.
After their fast start, the Bulls imploded in spectacular fashion, failing to trouble the scorers again in going down 41-17 to their hosts.
Friday, 13 March
Chiefs 24-27 Hurricanes.
Saturday, 14 March
Blues 43-10 Lions.
Sunwolves 14-49 Crusaders.
Reds 41-17 Bulls.
Sharks vs. Stormers - 15:05.