The Blues started brightly, forcing a turnover in the first minute and taking the ball through 14 phases before the Crusaders defenders dragged Frank Halai into touch.
They attacked down the flanks, but it was the Crusaders who drew first blood with a penalty to Tom Taylor after 22 minutes.
Crusaders center Ryan Crotty then charged down a clearing kick from the Blues and darted over the line for a try, with Taylor adding the conversion.
They almost had a second at halftime, but Blues lock Calum Retallick illegally swatted down a pass to Luke Romano as he shaped for a run at the line, earning a yellow card for his efforts and gifting the Crusaders another penalty.
The Crusaders made the most of their one-man advantage after the restart when Owen Franks scored a converted try through a driving maul from the lineout, with the South Islanders adding another penalty shortly after to make it 23-3.
SHARKS 23, FORCE 13
South Africa’s Sharks snapped a five-game losing streak with a deserved 23-13 victory over the Western Force in Perth on Friday to keep their hopes of reaching the Super Rugby playoffs just about alive.
Losing finalists last year, the Durban-based outfit had been forced to deny rumors of divisions within the squad this week after losing the first three matches on their Australasian tour.
However, tries from skipper Keegan Daniel and fullback Riaan Viljoen either side of halftime combined with 13 points from the boot of flyhalf Pat Lambie were enough to see off a willing, but limited Force side.