Cardiff Blues winger Alex Cuthbert scored a superb long range solo try for Wales but it was South Africa who ran out 38-16 winners in the first Test at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday.
Cuthbert started the game alongside regional team-mate Gethin Jenkins but could do little as South Africa blasted to a 28-9 half-time lead with tries from Bryan Habana (2), Duane Vermeulen and Willie le Roux.
Star winger Cuthbert lit up the second half for Wales with a brilliant consolation try as he tore over after a scintillating run from 70 metres out.
Springboks were never in danger and a further try from Cornal Hendricks ensured Wales, who introduced Blues duo Matthew Rees and Josh Turnbull in the second half, will now travel to the second Test in Mbombela Stadium next Saturday needing to win to level the series.
Judgement Day is back at the Millennium Stadium for 2015 with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Regions confirming today that tickets will cost just £10 per head to see all four of Wales' GUINNESS PRO12 sides in action under one roof.
Battling Cardiff Blues produce a performance of full pride and heart in adversity as they lost out to reigning champions Leinster Rugby in a pulsating Guinness PRO12 encounter at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Cory Allen scored the only try of the game as Cardiff Blues edged an absorbing and dramatic Welsh derby with Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade to open 2015 in the Guinness PRO12 with a crucial victory.