The Blitzboks beat Japan, but a dramatic defeat by England is likely to have them fail to qualify for the Hamilton Sevens semi-finals.
The Springbok Sevens team are in Pool B with Kenya, Japan and England for the New Zealand leg of the series, where the quarter-final stage has been scrapped.
And as a result of their 21-19 loss to England, the Blitzboks look primed to miss out on a spot in the playoffs as only the top-ranked team from every pool will advance straight to the semi-finals.
The Blitzboks play their last pool game against Kenya at 1:13am on Sunday (SA time).
South Africa were initially on fire against England, with new captain Stedman Gans front and centre of all their attacking plays.
Perfect execution had Gans and JC Pretorius score in quick succession to give the Blitzboks a deserved 14-point lead.
But England came back strongly with tries either side of the break to level the scores before Phil Burgess went over to put his team in front for the first time.
There was still just about enough time for South Africa to hit back and they did. Angelo Davids went on an audacious run, stepping and swerving his way through the England defence. He was eventually brought down, but won a penalty.
From there Justin Geduld found a gap to score. But he then missed the decisive conversion from a relatively easy position to leave the Blitzboks on the brink of elimination from the Cup competition.
Earlier in the day, Neil Powell’s men swept Japan aside to record a 35-5 win.
Angelo Davids bagged a brace, while Muller du Plessis, Cecil Afrika and JC Pretorius all got their names on the scoresheet in the one-sided contest.
Photo: @Blitzboks/Twitter/Gallo Images