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.
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
Carmarthen Quins Director of Rugby Ian Jones and committee member Jeff Thomas along with Llandovery chairman Handel Davies look ahead to Sunday's SSE SWALEC Cup showdown where both teams are out to prove 'West is best'
SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
Scarlets long serving prop Phil John talks to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie about Judgement Day IV and SSE Swalec Cup finals day. The last time Llandovery were in the cup final in 2007, the Drovers claimed the spoils with Phil playing a major role in the engine room.
Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
SSE Swalec Cup kings Pontypridd travelled to Swansea, fully expecting a return to their second home but Llandovery had other ideas as they also sought victory in the semi-final to earn the right to play the final at Principality Stadium