The men’s four boat, that was regarded as a possible medal hope, narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals. They will instead be racing in the C final, after finishing fourth in their repechage
Jake Green and David Hunt, who was part of the crew that just missed out on winning the bronze medal at last year’s Rio Games, completed the quartet.
They made a promising start in Tuesday's race where they held onto second place, going through the first half of the race.
The dropped down to fourth over the next 500 metres where they were involved in a tussle with the French crew for the crucial third spot.
The South African boat left everything on the water as they crossed the line a spent force, a second behind France.
Two months ago the quartet finished fourth in Lucerne where they missed out on bronze by 0.05 seconds.
The lightweight double sculls crew of Vaughn Botes and Nicholas Oberholzer, who finished fourth and fifth at the last two Under-23 world championships, had a far better day on the water.
They finished second in their repechage to advance to the semi-finals in the A final