The Crusaders extended their winning streak over the Waratahs to 10 consecutive matches when they beat them 33-37 with a bonus point in Sydney.
Man of the match Robbie Fruean scored a brace of tries in front 30 663 fans as the Crusaders outscored their hosts by four tries to three.
The Waratahs have not beaten the Crusaders since February 2004 when they won 43-19 in Christchurch.
The result moves the Waratahs above the Reds to eighth overall as they earned a losing bonus point from the clash while the Crusaders stay in sixth place and third in the New Zealand conference.
The Waratahs scored the first try of the match when fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper broke the Crusaders and set up Atieli Pakalani for the try.
However Fruean soon showed his class by scoring the first of his two tries and set up Zac Guildford for another to set up a 13-14 lead for the Crusaders.
The second half was a tight affair as the Waratahs went ahead with a try by Wycliff Palu but then Adam Whitelock's try put the Crusader back into the lead.
Fruean's second try put some distance between the teams but a late try by Sarel Pretorius made for an exciting finish and earned the Waratahs a losing bonus point.
Fruean stole the limelight from regular captain Richie McCaw who was making his first appearance following a long rehabilitation for a foot injury after leading the All Blacks to win the World Cup last October.
But McCaw's return was only a brief cameo which was marked by conceding three points when he gave away a penalty.
"It's pretty key now, the kick offs, making sure if you score you win it or vice versa you can try and put some pressure back on them," said acting captain Kieran Read.
"I guess that leads to territory which means you can build more pressure which we did a bit more in that second half."
Both sides showed their intent to play running rugby from the start with Zac Guildford and Fruean getting the Crusaders out of trouble in the opening minute when they launched a counter attack from under their own posts.
They took play deep into Waratahs' territory, but just as quickly the Waratahs were back on the attack and scored first.
They stole the Crusaders' lineout ball, Adam Ashley-Cooper created a break and Atieli Pakalani scored in the corner.
Brendan McKibbin added the conversion but then could only watch when a Crusaders' lineout move saw Fruean swat aside three would-be tacklers on a 40-metre run to the line. Tom Taylor's conversion levelled the score.
McKibbin added two penalties for the Waratahs in the half while Fruean engineered the Crusaders' second try when he split the defence in another 40-metre run before delivering a backhanded offload to Guildford who scored.
The Crusaders launched a scoring spree at the start of the second spell with a Taylor penalty which the Waratahs immediately matched with a Wycliff Palu try which McKibbin converted.
McKibbin added another penalty while the Crusaders picked up tries to Adam Whitelock who then fielded a high Waratahs clearing kick to start a counter attack which ended with Fruean's second try.
McKibbin and Taylor traded further penalties before replacement scrum-half Sarel Pretorious scored a late try to ensure a bonus point for the Waratahs.
The Crusaders now return home to play the defending champions Reds next weekend while the Waratahs head to Canberra for a clash with the Australian conference leaders Brumbies.
Final Score Waratahs 33 (13) Crusaders 37 (14)
Tries - A.Pakalani, W Palu, S Pretorius
Pen - B McKibbin 4
Con - B. McKibbin 2, B Barnes
Tries - R Fruean 2, Z Guildford, A Whitelock
Pen - T Taylor 3
Con - T Taylor 4
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant Ref 1:Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2:Andrew Lees
TMO: George Ayoub
1. Benn Robinson ,2. Tatafu Polota-Nau ,3. Sekope Kepu, 4.Dean Mumm , 5.Kane Douglas, 6.Dave Dennis, 7.Jono Jenkins, 8.Wycliff Palu, 9. Brendan McKibbin , 10.Berrick Barnes, 11.Peter Betham , 12.Tom Carter,13. Tom Kingston ,14.Atieli Pakalani, 15.Adam Ashley-Cooper
Replacements: 16.John Ulugia ,17.Jeremy Tilse , 18.Sitaleki Timani , 19.Lopeti Timani ,20.Rocky Elsom ,21.Sarel Pretorius ,22. Daniel Halangahu
1. Ben Franks 2. Corey Flynn 3. Owen Franks 4. Tom Donnelly 5. Luke Romano 6. George Whitelock 7. Matt Todd 8. Kieran Read 9. Andy Ellis 10. Tom Taylor 11. Zac Guildford 12. Dan Carter 13. Robbie Fruean 14. Adam Whitelock, 15. Israel Dagg
Reserves: 16. Ben Funnell 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Samuel Whitelock 19. Richie McCaw 20. Willi Heinz 21. Ryan Crotty 22. Tom Marshall