The Brumbies hold the whip hand over the Waratahs, with only one Australian team able to make the Super Rugby playoffs after the local sides were routed by overseas opposition in the penultimate round.
All five Australian sides were beaten, four of them by New Zealand teams, with no local side getting within a single-digit margin of their conqueror.
The Highlanders’ 34-8 win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires meant New Zealand sides have clinched all three of the wildcard spots and four of the five playoff places available to Australasian group teams.
Only the winner of the Australian conference can make it through to the playoffs, with the Brumbies and Waratahs level on points heading into next weekend’s final round.
The Brumbies look favourites to progress as they lead the Tahs on total wins and have an easier final-round game at home to the struggling Western Force on Saturday.
The night before, NSW play in Auckland against the Blues, who thrashed the Brumbies 40-15 at Eden Park last Friday.
NSW had the chance to move clear of the Brumbies on Saturday, but conceded the last 17 points in a 28-17 home loss to the Hurricanes.
The Canberra-based side will be assured of finishing first in Australia even before they play, if NSW don’t pick up at least a losing bonus point the night before.
The Brumbies, who suffered their first loss in five games, were held scoreless by the Blues in the second half.
All Blacks back rower Jerome Kaino and former Melbourne NRL back Matt Duffie each scored two tries for the Blues.
Elsewhere, the Rebels and Reds were both flogged by New Zealand sides and the Force lost 22-3 to the Stormers in Perth.
Queensland crashed 50-5 to the Chiefs in Brisbane on Friday and the Rebels were hammered 85-26 by the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Chiefs scored five of their eight tries in the first half against a Reds outfit who at one stage were reduced to 13 men after Nick Frisby and Jack Tuttle were sin-binned.
Melbourne leaked 13 tries as they crashed to the biggest loss in their history and have conceded 142 points in their last two games.
The Force’s loss in Perth was compounded by $5000 sanctions against two of their team leaders and Wallabies, prop Pek Cowan and fullback Dane Haylett-Petty.
Both men were deemed to have breached the Australian Rugby player code of conduct in separate incidents at the team hotel in Bloemfontein last week.
Only three points separate the top four sides in the NZ conference.
The Lions, already confirmed as winners of the Africa 2 conference, remain top of the overall ladder following a 57-21 win over the Kings in Johannesburg.
The Stormers’ win in heavy rain in Perth clinched top spot in Africa 2, with the Bulls and Sharks tussling for the one Africa group wildcard place.
The Sharks are two points ahead after their 26-10 victory over the Cheetahs in Durban, while the Bulls scored a 50-3 bonus-point victory over the Sunwolves in Pretoria.
AUSTRALIA’S ROUND FROM HELL IN THE SUPER RUGBY TOURNAMENT
*Win-Loss record 0-5
*Combined points for: 66
*Combined points against: 225
*Combined tries for: 9
*Combined tries against: 33