Danny Cipriani marked his first England start since 2008 in style and Owen Farrell also starred as England avoided a whitewash in South Africa with a 25-10 win in the third and final Test in Cape Town.
Defeats in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein saw England miss out on the chance to claim a first series win in South Africa and piled pressure on head coach Eddie Jones.
Wet conditions in Cape Town sent some members of the pre-match entertainment flying to the turf on Saturday and unsurprisingly did not lead to aesthetically pleasing rugby.
Yet England earned a degree of comfort from a disappointing series thanks to 20 points from the boot of Farrell and an excellent kick from Cipriani, which found Jonny May for their only try - effectively deciding the contest - as the tourists ended a five-Test losing streak.
Elton Jantjies missed an early penalty for South Africa and, by the time he did find his range from the tee, it only served to halve the hosts' deficit at the interval, Farrell having knocked over two three-pointers of his own in the opening period.
Farrell restored England's six-point lead four minutes after the restart before Schalk Brits was brought off the bench for his return from international retirement, bringing energy to a Newlands crowd that had further reason to cheer when Warrick Gelant produced a rare moment of precision.
Gelant's excellent grubber sent Jesse Kriel in for the game's first try, and when Jantjies converted England would have feared a repeat after letting leads slip in each of the first two Tests.
However, two further Farrell penalties nudged them into a five-point lead and, with time running out for the Springboks, Cipriani produced a moment of magic.
Cipriani was tackled as he launched a kick cross-field, but the ball spiralled perfectly into the far corner of the in-goal area, and May turned on the jets to dot down.
Farrell converted and then added gloss with the sixth penalty of a talismanic display, as England ground out a deserved triumph that Jones will hope brings an end to his toughest period since taking charge.
18. September 2018
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|Firmino only fit enough for bench duty|
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|Mourinho tells United to follow Federer´s lead amid Young Boys pitch concerns|
|Costa banned for four Serie A matches for spitting|
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|Rashford to start against Young Boys, Mourinho confirms|
|Ryder Cup heading to Congressional in 2036|
|I never listen to stupid things - De Gea unconcerned by criticism|
|Aguero trains as Mendy sits out Man City session|
|Lampard fined after accepting improper conduct charge|
|Serie B suspended after Pro Vercelli win appeal|
|Mitchell returns to England as defence coach|
|Brady completes Cornet upset in Guangzhou|
|Lopetegui giving no guarantees to ´fighter´ Navas|
|Di Francesco denies racially abusing Costa|
|Saunders apologises for ´sickening´ online video|
|Tianjin Quanjian 0 Kashima Antlers 3 (0-5 agg): Semi-final spot booked in resounding fashion|
|Madrid cannot live on Ronaldo´s glories, warns Ramos|
|Real Madrid are Champions League favourites, insists Man City coach Arteta|
|Stokes & Hales charged with bringing game into disrepute|
|Stephens slips to Vekic defeat in Tokyo|
|Simeone should teach Griezmann values - Ramos questions Ballon d´Or ambition|
|Arteta ready to step into Guardiola´s shoes after missing out on Arsenal job|
|Naive or scheming - Ozil´s agent slams Kroos, Neuer and Muller|
|Bolton´s Darby forced to retire after Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis|
|Root vows dressing support for Moeen over Ashes abuse claims|
|Madrid more dangerous without Ronaldo - Dani Alves|
|Federer fires ominous Djokovic warning to rivals|
|Arsenal confirm Gazidis departure to Milan|
|Man´s best friend? D´Arcy Short ruled out by dog bite|
|Salah has strong bond with ´friend´ Klopp|
|Mistakes were made in Serena´s US Open row - Federer|
|Burgess wants ´truth to come out´ over lewd video allegations|
|Injury brings premature end to Sharapova´s season|
|The next one´s mine - Griezmann underlines Champions League desire|
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|Free-scoring Liverpool and PSG do battle, Kane eyes elite club - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Braves fall to Cardinals, still move closer to clinching NL East|
|Mack leads Bears past Seahawks|
|Maradona makes winning start in Mexico|
|Barcelona captaincy has changed Messi, says Bartomeu|
|Lithuania qualify for FIBA World Cup after double-overtime win|
|Yelich makes history with another cycle|
|Silva: PSG, Liverpool have world´s two best attacks|
|It´s like a cow seeing a train – Pochettino uses unusual analogy to talk experience|
|Brady discusses Patriots´ trade for Gordon|
|Bills coach McDermott hasn´t spoken to Davis, says he ´didn´t feel a need´|
|Coutinho can´t explain Barcelona´s Champions League struggles|
|Henderson: Run to final can inspire Liverpool in Champions League|
|Eriksen: Everyone expects Kane to score a hat-trick every game|
|Gruden doesn´t regret decision to trade Mack|
|West Ham confirm Wilshere ankle surgery|
|Hughton hails Murray´s cool head as Brighton fight back again|
17. September 2018
|It´s not good enough - Hojbjerg blasts Southampton|
|Patriots sign Josh Gordon from Browns|
|Southampton 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 2: Murray denies Saints after Hojbjerg howitzer|
|Wawrinka ready for Khachanov after battling past Bedene|
|Lozano: Joining Barcelona would be a dream|
|Players can fight for Messi´s shirt if they win, says Van Bommel|
|Kaymer tips Europe for Ryder Cup glory|
|Neymar to face Liverpool, confirms PSG´s Tuchel|
|Jardim backs Ronaldo to beat Griezmann in Ballon d´Or battle|
|Atletico will grow through hard work, says Simeone|
|Sorry Sri Lanka crash out of Asia Cup|
|Pochettino has no concerns over ´easy target´ Kane|
|Valverde expects PSV to attack|
|Salah ´sure´ Liverpool can win Champions League|
|Firmino misses training ahead of PSG clash|