In an even first half England won a number of penalty corners, Mandy Nicholls going closest from their first attempt, South Africa's goalkeeper, Nicky du Toit, making an outstanding save. South Africa's opening goal came in the 30th minute following an injury to England's Tammy Miller, Annabelle Humphreys deflecting in the free hit which restarted the game.
South Africa resisted all England's efforts to get on terms in an onslaught at the beginning of the second half, and increased their lead in the 52nd minute. In a rare move into the England half and after a scramble in the circle, the substitute Gillian Pritchard snatched their second goal.
Although England attacked to the final whistle they were unable to break down a South African defence in which du Toit was in fine form.
In Philadelphia, the United States beat India 4-2 on penalty strokes after a goalless draw to take fifth place in the Intercontinental Cup and the last qualifying place for next year's World Cup in Dublin, along with Argentina, Germany, Russia and Canada.
Scotland won their last game, 3-2 on penalty strokes after a goalless draw against New Zealand, to finish a disappointing seventh.
David Whitaker has announced a very experienced squad for September's World Junior Cup in Terrassa. He has kept faith with 12 of the 14 players who finished fourth in the European Cup last summer, thus qualifying for the Terrassa event.
ENGLAND SQUAD (World Junior Cup, Terrassa, September): B Barnes (East Grinstead), N Conway, M Sutton (Bournville), B Cope, S Mason (Firebrands), R Davis, P Gibbin, D Woods (St Albans), B Waugh (Southgate), M Prestwich, J Wallis, J Hauck, S Nicklin (Teddington), H Hoskin, J Wyatt (Reading), J Lewis (Havant), S Humphries (Formby).Reuse content