Fly-half Marcus Smith – who will aim to steer Harlequins to a strong Heineken Champions Cup run in Pool B – kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure a one-point win for England against World Champions South Africa in a 27-26 thriller at Twickenham Stadium.
As the Autumn Nations Series comes to a pulsating end, Sale Sharks’ Manu Tuilagi and Raffi Quirke, in addition to Leicester Tigers’ Freddie Steward, dotted down for England – Smith dissecting the uprights with three conversions and two penalties.
The England squad will now return to their domestic sides as preparation ramps up for the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup – both of which begin on Friday, December 10.
Elsewhere, Wales topped Australia 29-28 in another one-point nail-biter at the Principality Stadium – Cardiff Rugby’s Rhys Priestland with an added time penalty to earn victory.
Ryan Elias of Scarlets – the Welsh region also competing in Pool B of the Heineken Champions Cup this season – and Saracens’ centre Nick Tompkins crossed the whitewash for the Welsh, Northampton Saints’ fly-half Dan Biggar adding four penalties and two conversions.
In Paris, France produced a scintillating display to defeat New Zealand 40-25 at the Stade de France.
Stade Toulousain hooker Peato Mauvaka notched a brace, with clubmate fly-half Romain Ntamack and ASM Clermont Auvergne star Damian Penaud also on the scoresheet. USAP full-back Melvyn Jaminet added 20 points with the boot.