Ireland could not extend their run of three successive victories over South Africa as the Boks spoiled the opening party at the new Aviva Stadium.
The World Champions controlled the game during the early exchanges and then managed to cling on as Ireland staged a dramatic fight-back.
Tries from Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney clawed Ireland back into contention, but Ronan O'Gara failed with a difficult conversion to level the scores late on.
Fly-half Morne Steyn opened the scoring with a penalty before converting an early Juan Smith try. Flanker Smith intercepted a lose Eoin Reddan pass and raced clear to score in the corner.
Steyn and Jonny Sexton exchanged penalties before Zane Kirchner and Gio Aplon linked up on the touchline and full back Aplon raced clear to extend the visitors advantage.
Bowe collected replacement O'Gara's chip through to score and O'Gara celebrated his 100th appearance by slotting the conversion.
Jamie Heaslip started a sweeping move which Kearney rounded off by touching down, but O'Gara failed his conversion attempt and South Africa hung on for the win.
Wales 16-25 Australia
Wales deserved more as they completely dominated up-front in Cardiff, but another clinical display from the youthful Australia back-line was the difference in Cardiff.
Quade Cooper and man-of-the-match Kurtley Beale orchestrated Australia who carried on from where they left off against New Zealand in Hong Kong last weekend.
David Pocock scored an early try which was converted by Cooper before Stephen Jones fought back for Wales with two first half penalties.
The visitors could not live with the power of the Welsh pack and conceded seven penalties at the scrum and Wales used their forwards well to create point scoring chances.
Wales were without a host of stars including Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts and Ryan Jones but have a lot to take from the game ahead of South Africa's visit to the Millennium Stadium next Saturday.
Beale scored one of Australia's two second half tries, with prop Ben Alexander collecting the other 5-pointer.
Replacement Richard Rees scored with 10 minutes remaining to give the hosts a glimpse of victory but it was not to be, James O'Connor kicking a late penalty to seal the win.
England 16-26 New Zealand
England could never recover from a powerful and clinical start by the visitors but showed promise with their dedication at Twickenham.
The Kiwi's arrived in London smarting from their defeat to rivals Australia in Hong Kong last weekend and got the ideal start, with Dan Carter converting two early tries from Hosea Gear and Kieran Read to put them 14-0 up.
Carter and his opposite number Toby Flood added two penalties apiece and the scores sat at 20-6 at half time.
The England scrum gave them a platform to work from and Dylan Hartley narrowed the deficit after the break but Carter added two penalties to keep the All Blacks out of reach.
The hosts were left still looking for their first win over New Zealand since 2003 and now must regroup as Australia are next up and in confident mood after their victory over Wales.