The Waratahs extended their winning streak against the Reds with a 13-15 victory at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The result is the Waratahs sixth consecutive victory over the Queensland side who last won a contest between the teams in July 2013.
The Waratahs outscored the Reds by two tries to one with Israel Folau scoring a brace of tries.
The win means the Waratahs stay in touch with runaway Australian conference leaders the Brumbies, but they had to use all their experience to see off a brave Reds side that is yet to have a win this season.
The Reds have improved each week since they sacked coach Richard Graham and, on the back of a superior scrum and line-out, they almost pulled off an upset.
“It was a really tough grind,” Waratahs captain Michael Hooper conceded.
“We did some really good things but we were falling back on some poor things we’ve done previously.
“We’re rolling on but hopefully we can get a snowball effect and go from there.”
Hooper said the Waratahs had adapted to the conditions better than their opponents.
“We changed our game plan which worked really well for us — kicking to the corners and playing for position.”
The Reds have had a dominant scrum all season and they quickly took control in the opening stages of Sunday’s match.
They won a series of scrum penalties on the Waratahs line before New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe eventually lost patience and awarded the home side a penalty try 10 minutes into the match.
The Reds tried to push home the advantage but Waratahs fullback Israel Folau narrowed the gap with a try in the corner following a superb break up the middle from Waratahs No 8 Jed Holloway.
The Reds looked like taking a 7-5 lead into half-time only to switch off while in attack and lose the ball at the back of the ruck.
Foley gathered the ball and set sail for the Reds line. He was eventually brought down but the Waratahs moved the ball quickly and Folau strolled over untouched to give the visitors a 12-7 lead at the break.
The Reds continued to play through their forwards in the second half and caused some problems, but whenever they moved the ball to the backs the movement broke down.
Jake McIntyre booted two penalties to put the Reds in front, but the experience of a Waratahs side featuring a host of Wallabies proved enough, and when the Reds forwards were penalised for failing to release a tackled player, Foley stepped up and put the visitors into the lead.
Reds captain Rob Simmons said conceding the try right on half-time had been a huge blow.
“I’m sick of saying it but we have to learn from these situations,” he said.
“There’s a better feeling going in at half-time when you’re in front.”
Simmons said the Reds needed to do more than just scrummage well.
“It’s something that we’re proud of and something we put a lot of work into, but there’s more to rugby than the scrum.”
The Reds have a bye next week while the Waratahs play the Rebels at home in Sydney on Sunday.
More to follow.
Final Score Reds 13 (7) Waratahs 15 (12)
Tries – Penalty Try
Pen – J.McIntyre 2
Con – J.McIntyre
Cards – A. Ready (yellow card 43rd min)
Tries – I.Folau 2
Pen – B.Foley
Con – B.Foley
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1:Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2:Damien Mitchelmore
TMO :George Ayoub
1. Sef Fa’agase , 2. Andrew Ready , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Cadeyrn Neville , 5. Rob Simmons (C) , 6. Hendrik Tui , 7. Liam Gill , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Nick Frisby , 10. Jake McIntyre , 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Anthony Fainga’a , 13. Samu Kerevi , 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 15. Karmichael Hunt
Replacments : 16. Saia Fainga’a , 17. James Slipper , 18. Sam Talakai , 19. Ben Matwijow , 20. Curtis Browning , 21. Scott Gale , 22. Sam Greene , 23. Ayumu Goromaru.
1. Paddy Ryan , 2. Tolu Latu (31 caps) , 3. Angus Ta’avao (51 caps) , 4. Dean Mumm (89 caps) , 5. David Dennis (VC ) , 6. Jack Dempsey (6 caps) , 7. Michael Hooper (C) , 8. Jed Holloway , 9. Nick Phipps , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Zac Guildford , 12. Kurtley Beale , 13. Rob Horne , 14. Reece Robinson , 15. Israel Folau
Replacements: 16. Hugh Roach , 17. Benn Robinson , 18. Tom Robertson , 19. Sam Lousi , 20. Wycliff Palu , 21. Matt Lucas , 22. David Horwitz , 23. Matt Carraro