The Brumbies currently sit on top of the five-team table, while the third-placed Waratahs are just three points adrift as the race for finals spots heats up.
The reward for finishing first is huge – a direct route to the final – and the Brumbies are in the box seat given they have a game in hand on all their main rivals.
The Waratahs are riding a two-game winning streak but they still have painful memories of their 24-23 loss to the Brumbies in round three.
A 77th-minute try from Brumbies No.9 Issak Fines and a successful conversion from Bayley Kuenzle stole the win on that occasion.
It extended the Brumbies’ winning streak to five against the Waratahs, which included a 47-14 hammering in March before the Super Rugby campaign was put on hold due to coronavirus.
Waratahs assistant coach Matt Cockbain said the one-point loss last month was still fresh in their minds.
“We’ve spoken about it, that one hurt a lot. It is a bit of a motivation,” Cockbain said.
“We should have closed that game out better than we did.
“We gave them an opportunity and they took it, which is a credit to them.
“And when we went down there pre-COVID we got belted. That was disappointing that loss.”
The Brumbies have beaten NSW in eight of their past nine meetings – a record the Waratahs are desperate to mend.
“You always want to win, you always owe them one,” Cockbain said.
“There’s a bit of history between the Brumbies and Waratahs.
“And we’re playing for the Dan Vickerman Cup too, a legend of the game and a guy who I was lucky enough to play with.
“We’ve spoken about that as well. We haven’t had our hands on that trophy, and we’d like to do that.”
Cockbain described the Brumbies as the benchmark of Australian rugby.
The Brumbies had the bye last week, giving them extra time to stew over their 30-12 loss to the Rebels in their previous outing.
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