WALES Women kicked off their autumn campaign with a hard-fought 19-5 victory over South Africa at Cardiff Arms Park.

Wing Jasmine Joyce, back row forward Sioned Harries and captain and hooker Carys Phillips crossed for tries in the capital while fly-half Robyn Wilkins kicked a pair of conversions.

Wales set the tone in the early stages of the match with their scrum demolishing the South African eight.

The pack then set the platform for the opener with hard carrying followed by the ball being moved wide with slick handling from fly-half Wilkins and centre Alecs Donovan putting Joyce over at the corner.

The visitors enjoyed a period of possession and began to exert their physicality but the Wales defence stood firm.

Rowland Phillips' side began to turn the screw just before the interval with their pack pushing hard on the South African line. After a couple of powerful carries the ball was spread wide with visiting centre Demi Nel putting in a try saving tackle on her opposite number Donovan.

But Wales continued to go forward and right wing Nosiphiwo Goda was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball on the floor.

Wales opted to take a quick tap with tight-head prop Amy Evans charging over the line only to be held up.

But Rowland Phillips' side shunted South Africa backwards in the proceeding scrum with powerful No 8 Harries dragging three defenders with her over the line to extend Wales' lead.

Wilkins successfully converted meaning the home side turned around 12-0 to the good at half-time.

Wales kept up the pressure in the early stages of the second half and came agonisingly close to their third try only for second-row Mel Clay to spill the ball forward with the try line at her mercy.

South Africa finally managed to exert some pressure and looked to have been rewarded when Aeza Hele crossed in the corner, only for the number eight to be denied by a forward pass.

Harries was yellow-carded for illegally slowing the ball down and the visitors eventually scored when blindside Lusanda Dumke sneaked over from short range to make it 12-5.

However, Wales sealed the win when skipper Phillips crossed after a powerful driving lineout to boost morale ahead of tricky Tests with Hong Kong on Friday and Canada on Saturday, November 24.

Wales: Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Alecs Donovan (Ospreys), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Keira Bevan(Ospreys) ; Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (captain, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Dragons), Sioned Harries (Scarlets).

Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Natalia John (Ospreys), Manon Johnes (Blues), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Alicia McComish (Dragons), Lisa Neumann (RGC)