THE Brumbies are back on top of the Australian conference, and second overall on the Super Rugby standings, thanks to a bonus-point 30-20 win over the Lions in Johannesburg.
It was the seventh win of the season for the ACT franchise, which has a bye this weekend before taking on the Bulls (home), Western Force (away) and Crusaders (home) in the final three regular-season games.
After looking in control for most of the contest, the Brumbies' lead was cut to nine points late in the second half before a try to Joe Tomane with eight minutes remaining sealed the win.
The main concern for the Brumbies - who moved to 38 points, 14 behind leaders the Hurricanes - was an ankle injury to playmaker Matt Toomua in his first game for more than a month.
The Waratahs retained their place in the top six with a 33-18 win over the Sharks in a fiery clash in Sydney.
Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu was lucky to escape with a warning for striking Sharks Lwazi Mvovo.
The win left the titleholders in sixth spot on 36 points ahead of Saturday night's crucial clash against the Crusaders (9th, 31 points) in Sydney.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes (52 points) extended their lead at the top of the standings after beating the Chiefs 22-18 in an enthralling match in Wellington.
After losing Sonny Bill Williams before the match with a back complaint, and locks Michael Fitzgerald and Michael Allardice with injury, the Chiefs had a late try denied and were far from disgraced.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.