A man-of-the-match performance from Israel Folau was not enough as the Waratahs fell to a 16-14 defeat at the hands of the Crusaders.
In their final trial ahead of the Super Rugby season, the Waratahs turned down shots at goal in a bid to fine-tune their attack.
Lopeti Timani and Luke Holmes scored the crucial tries but it was Folau who stole the show.
The league convert who could face the Lions in the summer made several line breaks and gave a small crowd plenty to cheer.
Michael Cheika was pleased with the performance and reckons his side are primed for their Super Rugby campaign which begins against Queensland Reds next week.
"I thought we weren't too bad considering we had about probably nine or 10 guys in their first game at the start of the game, so they were blowing like crazy from the start which I could tell.
"We knew what we were trying to do which is good. I like that. One of the big things we want to do is be very clear about how we want to play and just keep playing like that.
"We want to win but I think you see by the way that we decided to take penalty kicks for goal that we understand the balance of what we want to get out of practice matches as well."