The Waratahs ran out 39-30 winners over the Hurricanes in a see-saw battle in Sydney on Saturday.
The game was a timely reminder of just how good Super Rugby can be, coming in a week of yet more structual changes to the competition.
The Tahs got off to a flyer thanks to a second-minute Rob Horne try, before the Hurricanes responded with a try of their own; prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen going over with two Waratahs defenders on his back.
The visitors then opened up a commanding lead, scoring two tries in as many minutes, the product of some wonderful counter-attacking rugby. Back came the Tahs, though, with two quickfire tries, before a Bernard Foley penalty levelled things up as they headed down the tunnel tied at 24-24.
Matt Carraro grapped the bonus point for the Tahs early in the second half, following a well-worked set-piece move, before Stephen Hoiles crashed over to give his team some breathing space.
Barrett brought the Canes back into the game before a late Foley penalty meant the Hurricanes headed home with nothing to show for their performance.
Waratahs – Tries: Rob Horne, Dave Dennis, Bernard Foley, Matt Carraro, Stephen Hoiles. Conversions: Bernard Foley (4). Penalties: Foley (2)
Hurricanes – Tries: Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3). Penalties: Barrett (3)
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Cam Crawford.
Hurricanes – 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images