Southern poetry, flint-hard rugby in difficult conditions. The stars were aligned for the Highlanders last night as they claimed a major scalp in only their third victory this season.
The Highlanders were underdogs, unfancied by those who took their wedge to the bookmakers, but the hosts played like champions as they gave a comprehensive lesson in the arts of wet-weather rugby.
Nothing fancy, but ultra-effective. Solid, sensible and building relentless pressure as their rivals unravelled.
The vanquished Waratahs remain fifth on the points ladder, but with just two matches left until the playoffs they passed up a huge opportunity to put some extra heat on the leading quartet.
It took the Highlanders a nano-second to show their intentions and style. Playing into the strong wind and rain, they used repeat pick-and-go tactics with great effect.
It suited their mentality and their talents. Men such as hooker Jason Rutledge, lock Josh Bekhuis and flanker Adam Thomson were born to the low, driving work, support play and relentless blows needed to blunt the opposition's belief. If you listen to the old-timers down south, it is in their DNA.
Certainly the Waratahs would have thought so, as they failed to get any grasp on the match in the opening half an hour. They were flustered and uncertain whether to use the lusty squalls to kick for territory or to test the home team's defensive lines with some ball carries.
Eventually they had one chance and claimed it. Berrick Barnes drew some space and from his inside pass Kurtley Beale danced his way to the tryline for the visitors to go to the halftime sheds just two points adrift. The question then was whether they had learned enough from the Highlanders about playing into the squally conditions.
Sadly for the visitors, the answer was in the negative, while fullback Israel Dagg capped a superb game by setting up Thomson's second try before Matt Berquist banked a series of penalties.
Highlanders: 26 (A Thomson 2, S Setephano, tries; I Dagg con, M Berquist 3 pen)
Waratahs: 10 (K Beale try; D Halangahu, con, pen)