Wales huffed and puffed their way to an unconvincing 13-6 victory over Six Nations wannabes Georgia after being pushed to the limit.
Head coach Warren Gatland made 14 changes to face the world’s 12th-ranked team, and it showed signs of backfiring spectacularly during a second half that Georgia dominated at the Principality Stadium.
Wales ultimately prevailed through wing Hallam Amos’ try, plus two penalties and a conversion by stand-off Rhys Priestland – who was easily the hosts’ best performer – despite finishing with 14 players after prop Tomas Francis was sin-binned.
It meant a contentious finale as uncontested scrums were ruled, so Georgia opted to keep possession alive before running out of time.
But it made uncomfortable watching for home supporters as Georgia threatened an upset that would have been Test rugby’s biggest since Japan beat South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.
Georgia’s powerful pack made its presence felt at scrum time, and two Soso Matiashvili penalties were perhaps scant reward as they looked to keep the pressure on Six Nations bosses in their attempt to join European international rugby’s elite.
Wales flanker Dan Lydiate admitted Wales had lived dangerously.
“It was a tale of two halves. In the second half there were a lot of errors, a lot of stoppages,” he said.
“We weren’t clinical enough in the second half.
“We’re happy with the win, but the nerves were going at the end.”