Two of the Blitzboks' unsung heroes inspired a stirring comeback against the Australians as Neil Powell's troops ended the group stage of the Vancouver Sevens unbeaten on Sunday morning.
Zain Davids and JC Pretorius both scored tries in the final minutes, allowing the South Africans to recover from 10-19 deficit to sneak a 22-19 win.
Much like the rest of their day, it was a shaky showing from the Blitzboks, who struggled to shut out their opponents when it seemed as if the time was ripe to do so.
Ronald Brown had opened the scoring in the first minute, only for the South Africans to concede almost immediately after when Ben Marr touched down.
Typically determined, Brown was over the whitewash again before he and his team-mates lost their grip on the match.
Matthew Gonzalez gave the Australians the half-time lead on the whistle for the break, an advantage cemented when Nick Malouf scored their third try.
But, in a three-minute period that Powell will hope galvanises his charges for the play-offs, the Blitzboks showcased their familiar steel as Pretorius commenced the fightback.
Davids then sealed the deal with a try of raw power, feasting on a cut-out ball and then brushing off three defenders.
Earlier, the Blitzboks required a try from Selvyn Davids at the death to keep a bustling Canada at bay.
Pretorius and Brown had given them a 14-0 lead at half-time, but Cooper Coats and David Richard monopolised the scoring in the second half before the South African scraped through.
They had started their day with a 31-12 win over Spain, Shakes Soyizwapi managing a brace.
The Blitzboks' Cup quarter-final against Samoa kicks-off at 20:02.