Cape Town - The Blitzboks' Cape Town Sevens dream went up in flames on Sunday as they lost 19-12 to New Zealand in the tournament semi-finals.
It was a repeat of last year's semi-final at the same venue, and while the Blitzboks won that fixture in 2016, they ran out of steam this time around.
New Zealand had knocked out England, the Cape Town defending champions, in the earlier quarter-finals on Sunday with a 14-5 win, and they were too strong for a South African side that is considered the best Sevens team in the world right now.
The Blitzboks relied on a near-miraculous comeback to beat Fiji in the semi-finals, but this was a bridge too far.
The hosts had their first try in the first minute with an electric start as captain Philip Snyman finished off under the posts after he had made the break down the left flank.
The conversion was missed, but the Blitzboks had an early 5-0 lead.
Every time the Blitzboks got some go-forward ball the crowd was deafening, reminding us of why this event comes with such a remarkable reputation.
Caught napping on defence as the Kiwis took a quick lineout, the Blitzboks quickly found themselves back on earth as Tim Mikkelson scored under the posts.
Vilimoni Koroi kicked the simple conversion, and the Blitzboks were 7-5 down.
Cecil Afrika then showed his experience and class when he scored from a quick tap penalty just five metres out, doing well to find his way to the posts to make the conversion easier.
At half-time, the Blitzboks held a 12-7 lead.
New Zealand, though, struck straight after the restart as Koroi pounced on a breakaway opportunity to score in the left corner.
With the conversion unsuccessful, the scores were locked at 12-12 going into the last five minutes.
Werner Kok was lucky to escape a yellow card when he was pinged for a high tackle as things got tense.
Cries of 'Ole Ole' then roared as the 50 000-odd supporters looked to spark their team into life.
They didn't work.
With South Africa on an attack close to the line, New Zealand enforced a turnover and countered. The result was Joe Webber going over to score what would be the deciding try.
The Blitzboks were 19-12 down with a minute to play and in need of another comeback.
A late Tim Agaba knock-on with the Blitzboks on the attack was the final nail in the coffin.
New Zealand will now face either Canada or Argentina in the tournament final - a match they will back themselves to win regardless of the opposition.
Tries: Philip Snyman, Cecil Afrika
Conversion: Branco du Preez
Tries: Tim Mikkelson, Vilimoni Koroi, Joe Webebr
Conversions: Vilimoni Koroi, Andrew Scott Knewstubb