Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has lauded his side's courage and commitment after dealing the NSW Waratahs a hammer blow with a hoodoo-busting and bruising 26-20 Super Rugby triumph in Sydney.
The Brumbies overcame a turbulent build-up of injuries, suspension, retirement and even an ACT Supreme Court case to secure their first win at Allianz Stadium in 14 years on Saturday night.
An historic tryscoring hat-trick from winger Joe Tomane ultimately helped the Brumbies skip nine points clear of their arch rivals in the Australian conference but it was the side's steel to hold firm late that most impressed Larkham.
"Defensively the boys were phenomenal," he said after the Brumbies tackled their hearts out to deny the Waratahs a desperately needed win.
" It was a tremendous win. We haven't won many here in Sydney.
"We've always struggled to play well here but tonight we not only won, we played really well."
The fact they won without champion flanker David Pocock, who is serving a two-week ban, and after the premature retirement of popular forward Ita Vaea due to a heart condition and while chief executive Michael Jones is fighting for his job in court also delighted Larkham.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was not so impressed with his team after they were again dominated at set piece.
But the Tahs continue to believe they can make the finals, despite probably needing to win eight of their last nine games to do so after slumping to 12th on the ladder and 10 points behind Australia's conference leaders.
"It's a building process. We've dropped four (and) we dropped four in the season we won it," said skipper Michael Hooper.
"So, look it's a six-game stretch now. Finally some back-to-back games ... the old cliche of Rome wasn't built in a day."
Kurtley Beale made a successful comeback from an elbow injury and sparked the Waratahs attack but his performance was one of the few highlights as the 2014 champions three consecutive home defeats for the first time in nine years.
Israel Folau's long-awaited move to outside centre didn't quite result in a ton of action, but the superstar code hopper certainly enjoyed his midfield role alongside Beale and managed to equal Lote Tuqiri's NSW tryscoring record with one of his touches.
The Waratahs suffered a blow in the opening minutes with Folau forced off for a concussion test following a head clash with Brumbies No.8 Jordan Smiler.
He was back in the fray in the seventh minute but too late to stop Tomane from crossing for his first try, which came straight after a costly lost lineout from the Waratahs during which NSW prop Benn Robinson copped an accidental thumb to the eye and was forced out of the game.
Tomane bagged his second five-pointer on the quarter-hour mark before Reece Robinson's maiden Super Rugby try and then Folau's record-equalling 29th briefly put the Waratahs in front.
But try as they might the hosts were unable to pull back the lead for a second time after Tomane completed the first ever treble by a Brumbies against the Waratahs just after halftime.