Marius Schoeman is the coach of the SA Sevens rugby team at the Youth Olympics. Photo: @Blitzboks via Twitter

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Team South Africa’s men’s rugby sevens campaign got off to the worst possible start, as they lost 14-12 to Japan at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Dawid Kellerman and Ofentse Maubane scored tries for the South Africans, with Kobus Hattingh adding one conversion.

A combination of nerves and handling errors seemed to count against the SA side, with Japan snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a converted try late in the game.

It was reminiscent of the Springboks going down 34-32 to Japan right at the death in the opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Brighton, England, which stunned the rugby fraternity.

The Boks, though, did recover to reach the semi-finals, where they lost 20-18 to eventual champions the All Blacks.

But in Buenos Aires, the South Africans, coached by Marius Schoeman, lost again in the evening, 17-12 to France. Muzi Manyike and Mnombo Zwelendaba scored the tries.

African News Agency (ANA)