Try: John Smit crashes over for South Africa

MARSEILLE, 7 October - South Africa have booked a spot in the world cup semi-finals with a 37-20 defeat of Fiji at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday.

However, Fiji's brilliant attacking play and brutal defence pushed South Africa all the way.

The Springboks did just enough, with tries to Jacque Fourie, John Smit, JP Pietersen, Juan Smith and Butch James. Percy Montgomery added three conversions.

Trailing 13-3 at half time, Fiji fly half Seremaia Bai got his team off to the best start after the resumption with a penalty goal on 43 minutes.

Fiji made a lot of the running and looked odds on for a try in the 48th minute with a sustained assault on the South Africa line.

However, a Springboks breakout saw JP Pietersen cross for their third try after a beautifully weighted ball from second row Victor Matfield.

Percy Montgomery added the extras to give his team a 20-6 lead.

It was a double blow for Fiji who lost inside centre Seru Rabeni to the sin bin straight after the try.

But the one-man deficit proved no hindrance when flying wing Vilimoni Delasau kicked ahead and used his blistering pace to dot the ball down for a try, which Bai converted.

Two minutes later skipper Mosese Rauluni sparked the play of the match when he sniped through from the base of a ruck to unleash wing Sireli Bobo, who scampered away for a brilliant try.

Bai converted to level the scores 20 each before Montgomery edged his team ahead with a penalty in the 62nd minute.

But Fiji's euphoria was short-lived, as Springbok openside Smith sealed the deal with his team's fourth try five minutes later.

RNS mp/gs