Waratahs 41 Lions 13
Bernard Foley staked his claim for the Wallabies' five-eighth role after piloting the NSW Waratahs back into the Super Rugby top six on Sunday.
Foley had a hand or foot in four of NSW's five tries and landed seven goals from as many attempts in the Waratahs' 41-13 bonus-point win over the Lions at Allianz Stadium.
The decisive victory marked the first time in two-and-a-half months the Waratahs had won back-to-back matches and catapulted Michael Cheika's men from eighth on the ladder to fourth as the countdown to the finals begin in earnest.
Foley's eye-catching 21-point contribution was the perfect response to revelations that Australia's incumbent No.10, Quade Cooper will miss the June 7 Test against France in Brisbane after sustaining a serious shoulder injury on Saturday night.
Cooper was hurt early in the Queensland Reds' 30-27 loss to the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium and will be out for at least a month.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has a plethora of options at his disposal, but Foley's classy performance on Sunday was a timely reminder of his all-round capabilities.
The 24-year-old former Australian sevens star opened the scoring with a solo try and provided the second before halftime for midfield partner in crime Kurtley Beale with a skilful left-foot grubber kick into the Lions' in-goal area.
Foley then handled twice for the Waratahs' match-sealing third five-pointer after the break to winger Rob Horne and put the icing on the cake with a sideline conversion after the fulltime siren following another key touch for Horne's second five-pointer.
All up, Foley slotted five conversions and two penalty goals in a flawless display of goalkicking.
Centre Adam Ashley-Cooper also crossed after reeling in Beale's chip over the top as the Waratahs remained unbeaten at home in 2014 to close to within one competition point of Australian conference leaders the Brumbies.
With the Brumbies still facing a points-less weekend off with a bye, their round-17 showdown with the Waratahs in Sydney looms as a likely conference decider.