The Highlanders beat the Waratahs 55-29 in a pre-season match in Queenstown on Friday.
Centre Rob Thompson scored a hat-trick for the Dunedin-based franchise.
The match was played over three 30-minute periods in chilly conditions, with Highlanders captain Ben Smith making his first appearance since taking a sabbatical last October.
The Waratahs led 10-7 after the first period, thanks to a brace from winger Alex Newsome.
However, the Highlanders hit back over the next two periods, with centre Thompson grabbing a hat-trick between the second and third periods.
The Waratahs grabbed three tries in the final eight minutes to add some respectability to the scoreboard.
Photo: Dianne Manson/Getty Images