The Springboks are out of the world cup after they lost to Australia by 9-11in the quarter-final at Wellington.
The most experienced side in Bok history dominated possession and territory, but failed to capitalise on it and ended the game without any tries.
Morne Steyn was responsible for all of South Africa’s nine points – kicking two penalties and a 35m drop goal.
Australian captain James Horwill scored the game's only try, in the first half, while winger James O'Connor kicked two penalties for the Wallabies.
O'Connor struck the crucial penalty in the dying moments of the game for the Wallabies’ semi-final spot when South Africa was penalised after Danie Rossouw tackled Wallaby Radike Samo in the air at a lineout.
Patrick Lambie’s attempted try was denied after receiving a forward pass from Jean de Villiers.
Plenty of criticism was levelled at New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence for some questionable decisions when it came to the breakdown, hands in rucks and players flying in from all directions.
Springbok skipper John Smit acknowledged South Africa’s missed chances. "It was a ding-dong battle between two determined teams. It's a horrible way to go out but a couple of missed opportunities cost us. We did enough to win this game but that's the way it goes," Smit said.
The Wallabies will now take on hosts All Blacks in the semi-final. New Zealand defeated Argentina 33-10 in the second quarter-final on Sunday.