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Wales survives fightback to overcome Springboks

Wales edged South Africa in Cardiff but it should have been more comfortable for Warren Gatland's men in this rugby international.

Rugby international: Wales 24-22 South Africa

Wales survived an almighty South Africa fightback to escape with a 24-22 victory over the Springboks in Cardiff.

A try from Scott Williams and two for Hadleigh Parkes — making his debut on the day he became eligible to represent his adopted country — saw Wales open up an 18-point advantage over the Springboks, whose coach Allister Coetzee is reported to be heading for the exit door.

However, Warrick Gelant's try at the end of the opening period sparked South Africa into life, with Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel going over after the interval to move their side into a one-point lead.

Leigh Halfpenny edged Wales back in front with a penalty after 68 minutes and the hosts battled through a pulsating finish to cling on to a win that looked a formality not long before half-time.

The result marks a third successive home victory for Wales against the Springboks, who will be left to rue their dismal start.

As they did in defeat to New Zealand last weekend, it was Wales that applied the early pressure, but the host on this occasion took only five minutes to make the breakthrough.

Hallam Amos collected a Dan Biggar crosskick played into his path and offloaded for Williams to finish the job.

It has been an eventful week for the Scarlets centre, who crossed against New Zealand on the occasion of his 50th cap before confirming a switch to the Ospreys.

Williams's centre partner Parkes got in on the act three minutes later, another Biggar chip playing in the New Zealander for his first international try.

Halfpenny converted both and Wales was running rampant against a poor Springbok defence, who earned a breather, if nothing more, when the television match official decided that Malcolm Marx had been held up on the line at the other end after powering his way through a collection of red shirts.

Pollard finally got South Africa on the board with a penalty after half an hour, but Parkes soon doubled his international tally after Biggar charged down Andries Coetzee, with Taulupe Faletau slinging the ball left for the Scarlets man having pounced on the loose ball.

But the Springboks found a response out of nowhere before the break, Dillyn Leyds's burst from deep ended in centre Kriel booting for the line, with Gelant winning the resulting foot race.

Pollard added the extras and crossed for a try of his own as South Africa seized the momentum early in the second half, only to miss with the kick that followed his own touchdown.

But the Boks had their tails up and Kriel barged through the challenge of Halfpenny in the corner to help the visitors into the lead for the first time.

Halfpenny, however, was on hand to clinch the win with three points from the tee, leaving Wales to see out a tense final 10 minutes.