The Brumbies ambushed the Waratahs 31-40 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney and end their season in style.
The defeat means that New South Wales will have to wait until after the Lions-Bulls match to see if they finish second or third on the Super Rugby log, but either way, they will still contest a home quarter-final.
The victory is the third on the trot for the Canberra side at Allianz Stadium putting an end to a four-game away Aussie derby losing streak.
The loss is only the Tahs second defeat in their past 10 Australian derbies, ending a five-derby winning run.
Taqele Naiyaravoro’s 15th try of the season equalled Joe Roff (Super 12), Rico Gear (Super 12) and Ngani Laumape’s (Super 18) record.
The Brumbies raced to a 3-21 lead inside 20 minutes through Tom Banks, Richie Arnold and Isi Naisarani.
Folau Fainga’a was yellow carded for multiple infringements by the Brumbies and the Tahs capitalised when Damien Fitzpatrick powered over the chalk.
But the visitors hit back with tries either side of the break.
Andrew Muirhead scored five minutes before halftime and Kyle Godwin crossed soon after the restart to make it 10-33.
Naiyaravoro and Will Miller scored to bring the game to within eight points with six minutes remaining, but Lausii Taliauli’s score put the game to bed.
Brad Wilkin scored, as the hooter sounded, to give the scoreboard a flattering look.
This is not the way the Waratahs will have liked to go into the quarter-finals.
They were outplayed at home by a side that had only won six matches in this year’s tournament.
Daryl Gibson will not be pleased, his chargers were behind the eight-ball from the outset and they looked lethargic for much of the game.
Banks, like a thief in the night, picked up a loose pass from Curtis Rona and raced 75 metres to score under the posts in the third minute, setting the tone for the evening.
Bernard Foley kicked a penalty, but the visitors scored again, soon afterwards.
Some wonderful build-up play by the Brumbies set-up Richie Arnold’s try.
Christian Lealiifano stepped inside and popped to Joe Powell.
The halfback took a tackle, offloaded to Nic Mayhew in support.
The loosehead prop carried towards the try-line and passed to the lock, who scored under the posts.
Allan Alaalatoa was struggling in the scrums, giving away two penalties in quick succession to give the away side a platform for their next attack.
The Brumbies went up the field, patiently setting a platform for their next score.
Richie Arnold was involved again, breaking and popping to Naisarani, who swallow dived over the line and under the posts.
The Waratahs were reeling; the Brumbies firing.
The home team got a reprieve when they took advantage of Fainga’a’s sin-binning.
Some excellent work around the fringes set-up NSW’s first five-pointer.
Ned Hanigan broke and offloaded Fitzpatrick – who was having a nightmare with his lineout throwing – in support.
The hooker, close to the whitewash, powered his way over the line.
The (improbable) comeback was halted when Muirhead’s brilliance extended his team’s lead to 16.
Muirhead glided through a few weak tackles, swerving through the crowd and jinking his way for a 50 metre-try.
The game was all but over after the break.
Eight minutes after halftime, Godwin, in his last match for the Canberra side, scored his side’s fourth.
He sidestepped through the traffic and chipped Israel Folau, gathered and his momentum in the tackle carried him over the chalk.
Four minutes’ later, Folau went close, offloaded to Naiyaravoro, who powered over for his record-equalling Super Rugby try.
Time was running out for the hosts.
With the game winding down, Tom Staniforth was sent to the naughty step because the Waratahs repeatedly infringed the Brumbies’ driving maul.
It seemed to have the opposite effect for the Tahs because they survived the onslaught, going up the field and scoring through Miller.
Foley’s fifth successful kick brought the game to within two scores, only nobody told the Brumbies to stop playing.
Some magic by Tevita Kuridrani, who was superb, ended any chance of an unlikely comeback.
Taliauli chased Kuridrani’s kick after the centre burst through the Tahs defence.
The big man fended off a defender and put in the kick for Taliauli to chase, gather and score.
Wilkin scored his first Super Rugby try with the last play of the game to add some gloss to the scoreboard.
Waratahs versus Brumbies video highlights.
Final score: Waratahs 31 (10) Brumbies 40 (26)
Tries – Fitzpatrick, Naiyaravoro, Miller, Wilkin
Pen – Foley
Con – Foley (4)
Cards – Staniforth (Yellow, 70′)
Tries – Banks, Richie Arnold, Naisarani, Muirhead, Godwin, Taliauli
Con – Lealiifano (5)
Cards – Fainga’a (Yellow, 24′)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2: James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cameron Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Alex Newsome, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andrew Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Blake Enever, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli.