It was never a question of whether the Waratahs could do it but whether, at the foot of a snow-capped Mt Taranaki, they could do it for 80 frigid minutes.
They very nearly couldn't, surrendering a 10-point halftime lead over two-time champions the Chiefs to concede two converted tries in six minutes and very nearly the game.
But an outstanding individual effort from captain Dave Dennis wrested back control, secured a 33-17 win for the Waratahs and stamping their authority all over the Australian conference.
It was good old-fashioned football. Hardly a twinkletoed winger, Dennis took the ball from halfback Nick Phipps and trucked it up without guile, fending Pauliasi Manu and diving before the line for good measure with seven minutes to go in the match.
Bernard Foley added his own five-point flourish in the 80th minute, as well as a perfect night with the boot, to do his bit for the Australians' title hopes.
But it was Dennis's play that saved the match for a resurgent NSW and secured their first win in New Zealand in four long years.
The Waratahs stated their intent early with a ferociously fluid attack that struck from everywhere - up the middle, on the left and on the right - to rattle the Chiefs.
But a try-scoring double from replacement winger Bundee Aki midway through the second half turned a 13-3 deficit into a 17-16 lead by the 63rd minute.
It wasn't until Foley nailed a crucial penalty kick in the 67th minute to settle the Waratahs' ragged nerves that the visitors looked back in control. Dennis's effort made it 26-17 after the conversion and Foley sealed the deal.
It was not the run-on return All Blacks five-eighth Aaron Cruden had hoped for, despite securing first points for his side with a penalty goal in the third minute.
The rest of the half was the Waratahs' show, as the late-blooming side turned on their most energetic and ferociously fluid performance of the season to date.
Foley claimed his own three points to put the visitors on the scoreboard before a smart decision by Phipps to run off the ruck in the 13th minute and give it to winger Alofa Alofa looked to have earned NSW their first five points.
But fullback Israel Folau was caught holding a player not involved in the ruck and it cost them the opportunity. Luckily, redemption was never far off.
Centre Adam Ashley-Cooper - who had yet another outstanding match - took on three Chiefs defenders with a right-arm fend and floated through to put Folau away in the corner with time and space to burn. It was the dual international's 11th try this season and a new club record for the most tries scored in a season, surpassing Peter Hewat's nine-year record of 10 tries. Foley converted to make it 10-3 with 16 minutes gone and another penalty goal to run in 13-3 in front.
The Chiefs came out a vastly more collected unit and it was here the reigning champions mounted their comeback. For 27 minutes a Kurtley Beale 45m penalty goal was the only mark on the Waratah's side of the ledger.
Cruden used a chip kick twice to put Aki over twice, although the first of those tries was grounded only by the winger's torso and earned the ire of NSW coach Michael Cheika.
But the Waratahs' newfound maturity paid off and Foley's penalty goal with 13 minutes gone gave his side the breathing room and thinking space they needed.
Cool heads - and a captain's triumph - prevailed. The Waratahs go into the June Test break with their eyes firmly on a prized home qualifying final.