South African captain John Smit was left feeling happy with his side’s 20-15 win over Wales here but the home side were left ruing a host of missed chances despite dominating territory and possession.

South Africa raced out to a 20-3 lead thanks to two tries from Adrian Jacobs and Jean de Villiers, both converted by Ruan Pienaar, who also hit two penalties.

But the Welsh side came back into the match and four late James Hook penalties made for a thrilling end to the hard-hitting game.

“We made it tougher than we should have when we took our foot off the pedal after the intercept try (by De Villiers),” admitted Smit.

“We went into the wrong frame of mind and defended what was a small lead and made life more difficult for us.

“But it’s still two tries to zero,” said the captain, who was shifted from his usual hooking spot to tighthead prop.

“Their defence was certainly up on the button, but they still didn’t breach our line and we got two over theirs so we’re pretty happy with that.” De Villiers’ try was the “defining moment”, Smit added.

“Seven points took us 17 points ahead and I said to the guys to use that buffer to play some rugby but we didn’t get out of our half accurately, made some mistakes and put the pressure on.

“We’ll have a lot to work on this week but we’ll be a lot smoother next week. Take this win and work from it and work on the next two games against Scotland and England.” Bok coach Peter de Villiers echoed Smits words: “What we’re really proud of is the fact that we can stand up in front of 74,000 people – they came out guns blazing and we were up to the task.” De Villiers’ counterpart Warren Gatland, however, was left fuming with the result.

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement,” said the New Zealander, who described the game as a “real arm wrestle”.

“We want to be able to compete against the best teams in the world and I think we did that today but we had a chance to win it.

“The positives are we dominated territory and possession against the world champions, one of the best teams in the world.

“In the next year or two, it would be nice to think Wales as a feared opponent for any team in the world, home or away, that’s how ambitious we are.”