Teenager George North had the dream start as he scored two stunning tries on his Wales debut, James Hook adding another as the Welsh found their attacking flair, to go in at the break 17-9 up and looking the better side for a win.
But the Boks came alive and hit back after the break as Alberts and record-breaking captain Victor Matfield crossed for tries, with Morne Steyn kicking 19 points to help secure South Africa’s. Victory at the Millennium Stadium allowed the Springboks to regain second spot in the world rankings and keep their grand slam dreams alive. Final score:
Wales 25-29 South Africa
Tries: North 2, Hook. Cons: S Jones 2. Pens: S Jones 2.
Tries: Alberts, Matfield. Cons: M Steyn 2. Pens: M Steyn 5.
Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); George North (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Paul James (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Andy Powell (London Wasps), Martyn Williams (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys).
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys) for M. Rees (72), John Yapp (Blues) for James (71), Ryan Jones (Ospreys) for Powell (60), Deiniol Jones (Blues) for AW Jones (73), Richie Rees (Blues) for Phillips (69), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys) for Shanklin (39-41 blood bin), Chris Czekaj (Blues) for S. Williams (43).
South Africa: Gio Aplon; Bjorn Basson, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle for B. du Plessis (73), CJ van der Linde for J. du Plessis (75), Flip van der Merwe for Botha (60), Willem Alberts for Stegmann (46), Francois Hougaard for Pienaar (59), Zane Kirchner for Habana (73), Patrick Lambie for M. Steyn (67).
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia).
Gatland’s men have now won just one of their last 11 Tests, a record they will be desperate to improve against Fiji on Friday.