The British and Irish Lions had to withstand a late flourish from the Free State Cheetahs before escaping with a 26-24 victory at Vodacom Park, to keep their unbeaten record on tour intact.
The Lions were outscored three tries to two in their third tour game at Bloemfontein but had Welsh fly half James Hook to thank for their nail-biting victory. The Ospreys fly-half converted both tries scored by Keith Earls and Stephen Ferris and added four penalties for a personal haul of 16 points.
While Hook's boot was unerring, the Cheetahs saw Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Louis Strydom miss opportunities which could have claimed the home side a famous win.
The tourists got off to a flying start in Bloemfontein, hitting 20 points inside 20 minutes, but thereafter the home side raised their game and took the game to Paul O'Connell's side.
Wales wing Leigh Halfpenny was among first-time starters along with Hook and Irish centre Luke Fitzgerald. But it was backrower Ferris who showed his speed from the breakdown to race away for a converted try after Hook had got the Lions on the move with an easy penalty.
Hook was at the centre of the action again when his delightful chip was caught by Earls who eluded two tacklers to leave the Cheetahs' defence for dead. Hook added the extras for a commanding 17-0 advantage.
A second Hook penalty extended the lead to 20-0 despite Ferris being in the sin bin. A man down in the scrum, the Lions found themselves under pressure and eventually the Cheetahs worked clear dangerous winger Danwel Demas who finished with aplomb. Potgieter converted and suddenly the match looked a totally different proposition for the Lions.
The Cheetahs continued to make their one-man advantage tell when du Preez powered over for a try which Potgieter improved.
Hook's third successful penalty gave the Lions a 14-23 halftime lead but it was anything but comfortable.
Potgieter cut the gap to six points with a 45-metre penalty and even though the Lions struggled to find any momentum, Hook landed his sixth successful kick with a penalty on 50mins to put the tourists nine points clear.
Strydom landed a penalty before the Cheetahs put a cat among the pigeons when Corne Uys raced the length of the field after snapping up a Shane Williams pass for a converted try which brought the home side within two points of the Lions.
The Lions were clinging on when the Cheetahs saw a long range drop goal sail inches wide but with the final hooter having already gone, the home side saw their chance of glory blown away when they lost possession trying to set up a final drop at goal.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.