Cape Town - The Blitzboks had to settle for third place at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco on Sunday (Monday morning SA time).
The Springbok Sevens side defeated Fiji 24-19 in the bronze medal match, having earlier suffered a disappointing 29-7 defeat to England in the semi-finals.
New Zealand defended their title when they thumped England 33-12 in the final.
In the match against Fiji, the Blitzboks outscored their opponents by four tries to three.
South Africa led 17-7 at half-time, after which Siviwe Soyizwapi dotted down early in the second period for a 24-7 lead.
Fiji fought back with two late tries but it proved in vain.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said they were happy with the medal, although not the colour.
"What is most pleasing for me is the fact that, after that disappointment against England, we came out firing against Fiji and outplayed them to finish the season on a very strong performance.
“We have lost against them six times during the World Series, so to be able to beat them here was a huge effort from the players. We will never be happy with anything but first place, but the bronze medal does help to justify the efforts and sacrifices a little bit."
Powell congratulated New Zealand on winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament.
"They clearly know how to pitch for once-off tournaments, as they also won the Commonwealth Games gold, so well done to them. It was a great effort from them."
The Blitzboks arrive back in South Africa on Wednesday.
Tries: Philip Snyman, Zain Davids, Justin Geduld, Siviwe Soyizwapi
Conversions: Selvyn Davids, Geduld
Tries: Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova
Conversions: Vatemo Ravouvou, Amenoni Nasilasila