Super career looks over for Kurtley Beale
The Waratahs jumped to the top of Super Rugby's Australian conference after their 31-8 victory over the Bulls in Sydney, but it came at a heavy cost with Kurtley Beale picking up a "significant" knee injury.
The star playmaker was taken to hospital after clutching at his knee in the opening minute of the match.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson conceded the 27-year-old could well have played his last game for the Waratahs.
The injury came on the same day it was confirmed he would be leaving to play on a lucrative one-year deal with English club Wasps.
"I'm disappointed to see him go (to Wasps), but I can fully understand his reasons and I think when a player leaves here we spoke about making sure he signs off on the correct way," Gibson said.
"The disappointing thing for me with his injury is that he won't have the opportunity to do that."
The 2014 champions outscored the visitors four tries to one, and they now have 30 competition points from 10 games.
They are one point ahead of the Brumbies, who have played one more match and recorded a 30-22 win over the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday night.
Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps was superb for the Waratahs who face a tough run in the next month, starting away against the Crusaders on Friday night.
Meanwhile, Queensland's 18-year drought in Wellington continued with a 29-14 loss to the Hurricanes.
The hosts, minus a stack of All Blacks stars for disciplinary reasons, ran in five tries to one.
But the Reds will take heart from the fact they were in the hunt after trailing 17-14 with 15 minutes left.
Queensland's scrum was strong and flanker Liam Gill was a commanding presence at the breakdown.
The struggling Sunwolves had a surprise 17-all draw against the Stormers in Singapore, but it could have been a victory after Vincent Koch's late converted try denied the Japanese outfit a second Super Rugby win in its debut season.
Round 12 results:
HIGHLANDERS 34 (Naholo 2, Faddes 2, Squire tries; Sopoaga 3 con, pen) CRUSADERS 26 (Taufua, Dagg tries; Mo'unga 2 con, 4 pen) in Dunedin
BRUMBIES 30 (Pocock, Arnold, Leali'ifano, Fardy, Ah Wong tries; Leali'ifano con, pen) REBELS 22 (Crawford, Hodge, Naivalu tries; Debreczeni 2 con, pen) in Melbourne
HURRICANES 29 (Wodward 2 Goosen, Coles, Laumape tries; Barrett 2 cons) REDS 14 (Feauai-Sautia try; Goromaru 3 pens) in Wellington
WARATAHS 29 (Phipps 2, Mumm, Ta'avao tries; Foley 3 cons, pen) def BULLS 8 (Swanepoel try; Schoeman pen) in Sydney
SUNWOLVES 17 (Yamada try; Pisi 4 pen) STORMERS 17 (Du Toit, Koch tries; Du Plessis con, pen; Thomson con) in Singapore
LIONS 43 (Mapoe 3, Whiteley, Skosan, Van Rensburg, Tecklenburg tries; Jantjies 4 cons) BLUES 5 (Edwards try) in Johannesburg CHEETAHS 34 (Rhule, Cassiem, Van der Spuy, Petersen tries; Zeilinga 4 con, 2 pen) KINGS 20 (Du Plessis, Am tries; Fouche 2 con, Watts 2 pen) in Bloemfontein
SHARKS 25 (D du Preez try; Lambie con, 6 pens) JAGUARES 22 (Lavanini, Landajo, Botta tries; Sanchez 2 con, pen) in Buenos Aries