The New South Waratahs held on to beat the ACT Brumbies 13-10 on Friday in a bruising encounter that kept their Super Rugby title defence alive and well.
The Brumbies still lead the Waratahs in the Australian conference after picking up a consolation bonus point for losing by less than seven.
But their advantage was slashed to a single point with the Waratahs still having a game in hand after a gripping battle at Canberra Stadium.
The Brumbies jumped out to a 7-0 lead after just eight minutes when wing Joe Tomane scored out wide and Christian Leali'ifano nailed the conversion.
The Waratahs hit back straight away with a try from centre Adam Ashley-Cooper but went to the break trailing 10-7.
Neither side managed a try in the second half as the two teams - who are likely to provide the bulk of players for the Australian squad at this year's World Cup - defended ferociously.
Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley both kicked penalties to put the Waratahs ahead and the visitors held on to register their third win on the trot.
The Waratahs were reduced to 14 men at the end when winger Rob Horne was given a yellow card for a professional foul and spent most of the last 10 minutes defending.
The Brumbies had a chance to get a draw when they were awarded a late penalty but opted to go for the win, kicking for the line and setting up a rolling maul.
"It's really disappointing, there wasn't much in it," Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore said. "We had a lot of chances in the second half but weren't good enough to take them.
"It makes every game from now on really important if we want to make the top six."
The Waratahs also defeated the Brumbies in their round six encounter in Sydney, 28-13.