The Canterbury Crusaders methodically ground down the Sharks to score four second half tries and canter to a 38-6 victory in Christchurch that propelled them to their first Super Rugby final in three years.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read, wingers Nemani Nadolo and Johnny McNicholl, scrumhalf Willi Heinz and flanker Matt Todd all scored tries for the home side, who dominated throughout and held the visitors scoreless in the second half.
We are extremely disappointed with our performance.
Israel Dagg, Carter and Colin Slade capitalised by pinning the Sharks inside their own half or by playing at pace and stretching the visitors across the field, with Read prominent in his characteristic bursts down the wide channels.
Nadolo got more involved in the second half as the Crusaders continued their high-paced game, though it took some initiative by scrumhalf Andy Ellis to set up the Fijian international's 49th minute try.
Already awarded a penalty advantage, Ellis appeared to be waiting for the whistle then seized on the Sharks' hesitation, scampered through a gap to feed Carter, who then passed to Nadolo to go over and give the home side a 21-6 lead.
Todd then rubbed salt into the wound when the Crusaders pack executed a perfect rolling maul from an attacking lineout with about two minutes remaining to blow the score out.
The victory also released some of the pressure on coach Todd Blackadder, whose side had not reached the final since 2011 and have not won the title since he succeeded Robbie Deans in 2008.
Waratahs plunder Brumbies
Flyhalf Bernard Foley scored a brilliant late try and kicked 11 points to fire the New South Wales Waratahs into their third Super Rugby final, beating the ACT Brumbies 28-6 in a semi-final dog fight.
Foley finished off a breakaway move that started deep inside the Waratahs own half four minutes from time to seal a home final next weekend against the Canterbury Crusaders.
The Waratahs, who lost both their previous finals to the Crusaders in 2005 and 2008, had been set on the path to victory by opportunistic tries from winger Alofa Alofa and centre Kurtley Beale at the start of each half.
The Brumbies, beaten finalists last year, played a full part in a hugely physical contest but were only able to cross once through winger Henry Speight in the 31st minute and failed to score after the break despite dominating possession.