The Southern Kings, who replaced the Emerging Springboks as South Africa's representatives at the IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest, Romania, came away with a 31-17 win over a physical Georgian side on Friday.
Centre Siyanda Grey scored a hat-trick of tries to give the Kings a well-deserved win in their opening match of the six nation's tournament.
The South Africans had their hands full against the bulkier Georgians at the set phases but nevertheless pulled through.
Georgia drew first blood when left wing Irakli Chkhikvadze went over for a try.
After the conversion by fullback Malkhaz Urjukashvili, the Georgians enjoyed an early 7-0 lead.
The Kings, however, soon evened the scores at 7-7 when Grey juggled the ball a few times but then got it under control and darted from the outside to score under the posts.
The South Africans kept the scoreboard ticking, thanks to the boot of flyhalf Louis Strydom who converted two of the team's tries and four penalties.
Strydom gave the Kings a 10-7 lead after a penalty kick shortly before the end of the first quarter.
Their lead was short-lived, however, as Georgia soon replied with another try.
Kings scrumhalf Boela Abrahams misjudged the bounce off the ball in his 22 and could only look on as Georgia's towering winger, Besiki Khamashuridze, grabbed the ball and finished off with a five pointer.
The South Africans had a minor set-back with 10 minutes left in the first half when prop Clint Newland was yellow carded.
The Kings nonetheless did well not to concede any points in Newland's absence.
Shortly before the break, Strydom brought the Kings within a point of the Georgians with another penalty conversion.
The Eastern Province team kicked into gear after the interval, chalking up 18 points to Georgia's three.
Their second half flourish was ignited by two tries from Grey within two minutes with 10 minutes left in the match.
The Kings' defense held strong to keep a resurgent Georgian team from making a comeback.
Scorers: South African Kings (13) - Tries: Siyanda Grey (3) Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (4)
Georgia (14) - Tries: Irakli Chkhikvadze, Besiki Khamashuridze. Conversions: Malkhaz Urjukashvili (2). Penalties: Urjukashvili