It was high drama in the match against the Aussies, who led 24-5 with three minutes to go, but three Blitzbok tries - by Tristan Leyds, Christie Grobbelaar and Quewin Nortje - saw them level the scores at the death.

In added time, with the golden point at play, the Blitzboks had a kickable penalty, but opted for a scrum, which led to nothing. Moments later, Shilton van Wyk was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle, which opened the necessary space for Nick Malouf to score the match-winning try and send the Aussies into the semi-finals.

South Africa will now play world series leaders Argentina for fifth place, at 09h55 (SA time) on Sunday morning.

Earlier on Saturday, Dylan Sage scored a magnificent try after the buzzer to help secure a nail-biting 20-19 victory in their final pool game.

However, the Blitzboks squandered a 15-0 lead in two minutes against the resilient French after a strong start, with defensive pressure forcing mistakes from the team in blue. When Selvyn Davids was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-down though, the tide seemed to turn.

A minute later though, France also lost a player to the sin bin and the Blitzboks immediately struck, with Nortje going over for a great try in the left corner after five minutes.

Shortly after Davids' return to the field, Leyds scored in the same corner from a brilliant set move.

The Blitzboks had a scrum and went right, but Shilton van Wyk saw the space on the left and his cross-kick found and unmarked Leyds, whose try made it 10-0.

Tristan Leyds scores against France.

Tristan Leyds scores against France.

They were not done yet and after forcing a French knock-on through more pressure on defence, Selvyn Davids darted away for a third try - also unconverted - to see the Blitzboks in control at 15-0 at the break.

Midway through the second half, the French found their rhythm and exploited restart mistakes from the Blitzboks to score three tries in two minutes - two of which were converted - and suddenly, with time almost up on the clock, they led by 19-15.

However, the Blitzboks showed superb resilience and from a penalty on their own 5m-line, Leyds tapped and Rosko Specman found space up the middle of the field, before the ball was worked to the left for Sage, who is playing in his first tournament in four years, to go over for the winner after the buzzer

Roles were reversed in the quarter-final though, with the Aussies taking a commanding 24-5 lead before the drama late in the match.

Leading by 17-5 at the break - with Zain Davids' brilliant 60m effort the Blitzboks' only points as they had almost no possession in the half - Australia added a fourth try 90 seconds into the second stanza.

With four minutes to go and time running out, Leyds scored from a tap penalty, but the conversion again sailed wide - this was the Blitzboks' 10th consecutive failed conversion, which is something they will have to address, although Dewald Human's injury on the opening day robbed them of a good kicker.

From the restart, Grobbelaar pounced on a loose ball behind a ruck and crashed over, with Leyds adding the extras to make it a seven point game.

Nortje then ripped open the Aussie defence in midfield for a try under the uprights with 30 seconds to go, but four minutes later, in extra time, Van Wyk's yellow and Malouf's try ended the Blitzboks' charge in Singapore.


Quewin Nortje scored tries in both games on Saturday.

Quewin Nortje scored tries in both games on Saturday.

Blitzbok coach Philip Snyman was distraught after the defeat against Australia.

"We were a little bit sloppy at the start, but the guys showed great effort and a lot of character to come back from 24-5 down with three tries to level the scores," said Snyman.

"In extra time, we had three opportunities which we didn't convert into points, and maybe we could have taken one or two different options from our plays, but that is in the past now and we can't do anything about it.

"We're disappointed with the result as our aim was to make at least the semi-finals and although we came close, it was heartbreaking for the guys.

"We need to learn and make better decisions on the field, and be more clinical when we have opportunities."

Snyman said they will go back to the drawing board before Sunday's clash with Argentina: "We need to be clinincal, but this team will have to rock up and show character tomorrow. We want to turn things around, play with the right mindset, and show what this Springbok Sevens team can do."


South Africa 20 (15) France 19 (0)
SA - Tries: Quewin Nortje, Tristan Leyds, Selvyn Davids, Dylan Sage.
France - Tries: Aaron Grandidier (2), JP Barraque. Conversions: Barraque (2).

South Africa 24 (5) Australia 29 (17)
SA - Tries: Zain Davids, Tristan Leyds, Christie Grobbelaar, Quewin Nortje. Conversions: Leyds, Selvyn Davids.
Australia - Tries: Nathan Lawson (2), Dietrich Roache, Henry Hutchison, Nick Malouf (golden point). Conversions: Roache (2).