The Brumbies claimed early conference honours after ending a four-match losing streak to the Waratahs with a 32-15 win in Canberra.
In a fiery clash, all eyes were on the Pocock-Hooper clash, but as emotions boiled over it was the Waratahs' lack of discipline and the Brumbies complete scrum domination that was the main talking point of the match.
Following on from their emphatic win over the Hurricanes in the opening round, the Brumbies were always going to be hard to keep quiet, and while the Tahs managed to hold them out early in the match, despite their lack of discipline, a fast finish from the Brumbies in the final 20-minutes saw three tries scored, including a penalty try from a powerful Brumbies scrum.
It was a sweaty and often messy affair in front of 20,142 fans at GIO Stadium, both sides had casualties, though the `Tahs' list was longer - losing Rob Horne, Tatafu Polota-Nau (wrist) and Bryce Hegarty (knee). Horne's injury gave fullback Israel Folau a chance to shift to outside centre and while he had few opportunities, his strong charge set up Nick Phipps' long-range try that got the Tahs within three points midway through the second half.
Penalised four times within the opening four minutes, including Skelton's yellow card, the Tahs were put on the backfoot early, and Christian Leali'ifano made the Tahs pay for their lack of disipline. Dominating the breakdown and possession, the Brumbies camped themselves within the Tahs 22, and it was Leali'ifano who eventually broke through the Tahs scrambling defence to score the first try of the night.
Some Israel Folau magic saw the Waratahs hit back, scoring his opening try for the 2016 season. Completely against the run of play, Folau slipped through the Brumbies defence to crash over in the corner and put the Tahs on the board, and a converted penalty kept the Tahs in the game despite the loss of Dean Mumm to the side's second yellow card.
Emotions boiled over in the second half, with blood spilled, but it only served to fire up both sides, with a five-pointer to Joe Tomane for the Brumbies quickly balanced out by Phipps' slick try. A penalty try from a scrum with 12 minutes left gave the hosts a 10-point buffer, and ultimately sealed the game after the Waratahs were denied late by the TMO because of an obstruction. Nigel Ah Wong capped it off for the Brumbies with a final-minute try.
The Waratahs enjoy a bye next week, while the Brumbies travel to Perth to face the Western Force.
Larkham was impressed that his side found a way to claw back.
"There was a lot of pressure applied at the breakdown for both teams but we backed ourselves to find the space in attack - in previous years we probably wouldn't have done that," he said. "It was a good little victory."
He praised his "unbelievable" front-row scrummagers, which has been a focus of Larkham's in recent years.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson admitted the Brumbies won the battle of the scrum - aided by a few "rough calls".
"I felt overall we really showed some good passion and real desire and commitment," he said.
"What we lacked was a little bit of poise at crucial times and coming away from the area with points, in terms of accuracy - particularly at the breakdown."
Gibson confirmed Hegarty had a suspected ACL injury, while Polota-Nau refractured his arm and Horne hurt his knee.