Despite a valiant second-half display, the Junior Springboks were knocked out of the World Under-20 Championship on Monday night after going down 20-7 to France.
The French pack laid the foundation for the victory at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario, Argentina with a powerful performance, especially in the first half.
France will now face Australia in the final on Saturday after the Aussies beat the host nation Argentina 34-13 in the other semi-final on Monday.
The bigger French outfit had the South Africans on the back foot from the start. The Junior Boks just lacked the same physicality and urgency that saw them engulf New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
This time it was France who displayed greater hunger on attack and defence, and flyhalf Louis Carbonel turned that dominance into a 6-0 lead by the ninth minute.