Tighthead prop Vincent Koch also formed part of the new front row configuration and not long after Rynhardt Elstadt, as well as debutants Ntuthuko Mchunu and Deon Fourie were pushed into battle.
The renewed zeal with which the Boks hit the rucks allowed them quicker ball and heavy hitters like Pieter-Steph du Toit and Marx grew increasingly influential.
Warrick Gelant who had a quiet first half by his standards also popped up in positions of promise.
The hosts started the second half with real purpose and got a penalty that got them into the lead in the 44th minute.
Wales squandered the opportunity to immediately restore parity but Biggar missed his second penalty attempt.
The Wales captain seemed to struggle with a shoulder injury.
A week earlier Wales struggled to keep up when the Boks cranked up the heat in the second half but this time they stayed in the fight.
Their error rate increased and they fell foul of the law but they showed composure when it mattered at the end.
Though he had missed two attempts by the hour mark Handré Pollard added three penalties to one he slotted in the first half to give the Boks a buffer going into the final quarter.
However, it was then the Dragons breathed new life into their effort and scorched the Boks at the death.
SOUTH AFRICA (3) 12
Penalties: Handré Pollard (4)
WALES (3) 13
Try: Josh Adams. Conversion: Gareth Anscombe. Penalties: Dan Biggar, Anscombe
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