The ACT Brumbies remain in the finals equation with a 32-12 bonus-point victory over injury-hit Queensland in Saturday's Super 14 derby at Canberra Stadium.
Dominant from the outset, the Brumbies ran in four unanswered tries - including a double to prop Ben Alexander - to close within two tantalising competition points of the top four with two rounds remaining before the playoffs.
The 20-point shellacking also preserved the ACT side's 15-season undefeated record against the Reds in Super rugby and set the scene for a thrilling five-team race to the last two semi-finals berths.
Queensland are still fourth behind the Crusaders on points differential but finish the regular season in New Zealand with a must-win game against the fast-finishing Hurricanes and Highlanders.
The Waratahs, who play the Chiefs away and sixth-placed Hurricanes at home, are in fifth spot, just one point ahead of the Brumbies, who host the Highlanders next week and then finish with the Crusaders in Christchurch.