The Waratahs conceded their first defeat of the Super Rugby season on Saturday, going down 28-23 to the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
The hosts outscored their rivals from Sydney three tries to two but were made to sweat in the dying minutes as the Waratahs fought back from being 25-9 down early in the second half to narrow the gap to just two points.
The Brumbies' rush defence did an excellent job of shutting down the Waratahs backline, meaning dangermen Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale were rarely given a chance to stretch their legs.
Tries from Nic White and Jesse Mogg helped the Brumbies to a 20-9 lead at the interval.
A second-half score from Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani ensured that late tries for the Waratahs from Michael Hooper and Folau were not enough, despite the Brumbies conceding two yellow cards in the final quarter.
Bernard Foley and White traded early penalties but it was the Brumbies scrum-half who was first to cross the whitewash, spotting a gap next to a ruck and snipping over from short range on the 15-minute mark.
Mogg scored just three minutes later after beating Folau by millimetres in a foot race to his own chip ahead. White's second conversion took the scores to 17-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Foley pulled three points back for the visitors but White replied just before the break to give the Brumbies an 11-point headstart going into the second period.
The 'Tahs had hardly threatened to score after the break when Kuridrani bagged the Brumbies' third try, finishing off a flowing move in the corner.
The visitors were thrown a lifeline when referee Jaco Peyper lost patience with the Brumbies' spoiling tactics at the breakdown and sent Matt Toomua to the sin bin.
The extra man soon paid dividends for the 'Tahs as Michael Hooper crashed over with Foley's conversion cutting the deficit to nine points.
The Brumbies would finish with 14 men as Ruan Smith also saw yellow.
That man Folau pulled his team right back into contention with well-taken try in the corner.
Foley hit the target with the conversion to make it a two-point game but the Brumbies would have the last laugh as White landed a long-range penalty on the stroke of full-time.
Tries: White, Mogg, Kuridrani
Cons: White 2
Pens: White 3
Yellow cards: Toomua, R. Smith
Tries: Hooper, Folau
Cons: Foley 2
Pens: Foley 3
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Jean-Pierre Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Locky McCaffrey, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Michael Dowsett, 23 Lionel Cronje.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (capt), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Rob Horne, 24 Matt Carraro, 25 Jonno Lance.
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)