Cape Town - South African hearts were broken at the Cape Town Sevens as the Blitzboks went down 17-12 to Fiji in the tournament semi-finals on Sunday.
The hosts were greeted by a rapturous home welcome by a near-packed Cape Town Stadium crowd, and that energy translated into a fast-paced start that saw the Blitzboks out of the blocks in a hurry.
After a couple of probing attacking movements, South Africa had the lead when speedster Siviwe Soyizwapi scored in the right hand corner after playmaker Rosko Specman had taken it to the line and created the space.
The conversion went wide and the Blitzboks had a 5-0 lead, but it didn't last long and Fiji drew level when Vilimoni Botitu broke through a Werner Kok tackle to score, also in the right corner.
At 5-5, the Cape Town crowd fell silent.
It got worse for the hosts soon after, when first Soyizwapi knocked on and then Kok missed another tackle from the resulting set piece attack, allowing Waisea Nacuqu to go through under the posts and give Fiji a 12-5 lead that they would take into half time.
The Blitzboks were then met with some strong Fijian defence after the restart, but they showed composure in possession before eventually getting the equalising try after neat interplay between Specman and Justin Geduld before Specman scored under the poles.
At 12-12, the match was set for a thrilling finale.
Fiji then had a player yellow-carded with just over a minute remaining, but the Blitzboks could not capitalise on their chance.
Instead, with six men on the field, Fiji grabbed the winner in the dying seconds through substitute Alosio Sovita Naduva, who had too much speed down the left after pouncing on a loose ball.
The Blitzboks were forced to go into Sunday without the services of captain Philip Snyman and youngster Muller du Plessis, who were both injured on Saturday.
Fiji will now face the winners of the second semi-final between the USA and New Zealand, with the tournament final kicking off at 19:44 (SA time).
South Africa 12 (5)
Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Rosko Specman
Conversion: Justin Geduld
Fiji 17 (12)
Tries: Vilimoni Botitu, Waisea Nacuqu, Alosio Sovita Naduva