Six Australia hopefuls including veteran flanker George Smith and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau suffered injuries as the Waratahs came from behind to post a thrilling 28-22 victory over the Brumbies in a brutal Super 15 local derby at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Polota-Nau is in doubt for next month's British and Irish Lions tour with a fractured arm while the durable Smith limped off the field and straight up the tunnel on the hour as Wallabies coach Robbie Deans watched on in horror from the stands.
Kane Douglas (concussion), Rob Horne (eye), Pat McCabe (leg) and Christian Lealiifano (thigh) also failed to complete the match.
Ben Mowen and Tevita Kuridrani crossed for the Brumbies with Michael Hooper, Berrick Barnes and Peter Betham going over for the Waratahs.
Skipper Kieran Read led the way as the Crusaders eased to a 23-3 victory over the Blues at the AMI Stadium.
Crusaders were on fire with their lineouts and scrum in the closing stages, while by contrast ill-discipline cost the visitors - giving away six penalties at crucial periods of the game. The defeat brought to an end a two-game winning run for the visitors as the hosts replaced them in the Super Rugby top six.
The Bulls stretched their winning streak to five matches after claiming an ultimately comfortable 35-18 bonus-point victory over the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld.
The hosts never looked back from taking a second-minute lead through JJ Engelbrecht's try while there were further scores for Akona Ndungane, Pierre Spies and substitute Jano Vermaak, with Morne Steyn kicking 15 points.
Second-half tries from Fumiaki Tanaka and Tamati Ellison kept the score respectable but the Highlanders' attempts to get back into the game were heavily undermined by Maritino Nemani and Chris King receiving yellow cards.
The Cheetahs revived their finals hopes as they ended a three-game losing run with a 27-13 victory at home to the Queensland Reds in Bloemfontein. Scrum-half Piet van Zyl's first-half double and 17 points from debutant Elgar Watts ensured a much-needed win for the South African side.