The Springbok Sevens beat Australia 19-14 in the Cup quarter-finals to finish unbeaten on day one at the Las Vegas Sevens.
After cruising through their first two group games against hosts America (27-5) and Japan (35-0), the Blitzboks worked hard for their 7-7 against Samoa to top Pool D.
The World Series defending champions scored first as veteran Uale Mai scored a converted try in the second minute of play. Towards the end of the first stanza, Renfred Dazel crossed the chalk and Cecil Afrika slotted the conversion to level matters.
Both teams had a scoreless second half as they failed to convert their opportunities. This ensured that South Africa finished first in Pool D with a better points difference, which booked them a Cup quarter-final tie against Australia.
Australia were favourites to beat the Blitzboks as they have won more play-off fixtures in recent fixtures, but the latter surprised with a great performance to advance to their first Cup semi-final this season.
Branco du Preez opened the scoring with five-pointer but Australia secured a half-time lead as John Grant dived over with Hamish Angus adding the extras.
South Africa then built a commanding lead with two early tries in the second half through skipper Kyle Brown and speedster Cecil Afrika. Australia created some late excitement as Lewis Holland scored in the corner at the death but Paul Treu’s charges held on for victory.
The Springbok Sevens will face England in the Cup semi-final on day two.
Blitzboks results, day one:
South Africa 27 USA 5
South Africa 35 Japan 0
South Africa 7 Samoa 7
South Africa 19 Australia 14