The Crusaders turned defence into attack to beat the Brumbies in Canberra for the first time since 2003.
The Crusaders won 30-23 after the teams teid 10-all at half-time.
The Brumbies were the pre-game favourites after the Crusaders struggled for form in the last two games, but in Canberra the Crusaders returned to a more traditional – and effective – playing style that relied on pressured defence and greater kicking for field position.
The Brumbies struggled with the intensity of the visitors who have the best overseas and away record in the competition’s history.
Collectively the Crusaders were good and Israel Dagg, dropped to the bench, produced his best performance of the season when introduced to the action.
The Brumbies led 10-0, courtesy of a Matt Toomua intercept try from a loose Dan Carter pass, but it was the only blemish in Carter’s performance.
The game’s best flyhalf has missed the last four matches and his return also coincided with a return to a more complete Crusaders approach.
Carter kicked six from six but his tactical kicking was as good.
Saders captain George Whitelock described the win as season-defining, especially because his side had done their travel to Australia and South Africa. The rest of their competition will be played in New Zealand.
Brumbies – Try: Matt Toomua, Ben Mowen. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano, Matt Toomua. Penalties: Lealiifano (3).
Crusaders – Tries: Andy Ellis, Zac Guildford, Israel Dagg. Conversions: Dan Carter (3). Penalties: Carter (3).