Hong Kong enjoyed a day to remember at the sevens on Sunday, beating Kenya and Canda to claim the 13th place shield and their first silverware since 2010.
The SAR lost their three pool matches on Friday and Saturday but battled hard in Sunday's first game in the 9th-place quarter final against defending champions Australia.
They went behind to two tries from Nathan Lawson and a Henry Patterson effort before Liam Herbert got a try back.
The SAR's side pressed for a way back into the match only for Nick Malouf's late try to give the Aussies a 22-5 victory, a scoreline that didn't quite reflect Hong Kong's efforts.
That gave the home side a 13th-place semi-final against Kenya, a team who've often impressed on their visits to Hong Kong with their pace, power and flair.
Seb Brien sent the home fans wild with an early try after Kenya lost a man to the sin bin. Alvin Otieno put the Africans back on level terms at the break.
But that man Brien was back at it early in the second half with another try, converted by Russell Webb. A minute late, Webb was in for a try of his own, which he again converted.
Jeff Oluouch pulled one back for the Kenyans but the SAR were on their way to a memorable 19-10 victory.
In the 13th-place final at a packed Hong Kong stadium on Sunday afternoon, the SAR dominated from the off with Chung Mak-kwai and Liam Herbert going over for first half tries.
Max Denmark added a third after the break before Matt Oworu got a consolation for the Canadians as it finished 17-7.
In the cup, New Zealand will take on Fiji in what promises to be a classic final between two greats of the game. New Zealand overcame France 12-7 in the semi-final while Fiji had it tough against Great Britain, eventually winning 19-14 with a last-gasp try from Terio Tamani.
On the women's side, Australia face New Zealand in a trans-Tasman final.
Last updated: 2023-04-02 HKT 16:59