England (20) 37
Tries: May, Lawes, Ford, Farrell; Conversions: Farrell 4; Penalties: Farrell 2, Daly
South Africa (9) 21
Tries: Goosen, Le Roux; Conversions: Combrinck Penalties: Lambie 2; Drop goals: Lambie
Owen Farrell scored 23 points as England ended a 12-match winless run over South Africa with a routine victory at Twickenham. Eddie Jones' men claimed an 11th victory in a row to kick-off their autumn schedule in convincing fashion against a Springboks side who offered only momentary resistance.
Tries came from Jonny May, Courtney Lawes on his 50th appearance and George Ford and Farrell either side of half-time, with the Saracens fly-half faultless with the boot in testing conditions. South Africa made an encouraging start helped by a massive front five however they were unable to sustain it.
Replacement Johan Goosen and full-back Willie le Roux scored consolation tries to attach some respectability to the scoreline, but ahead of clashes with Italy and Wales later in November the team face a challenging period. England meanwhile take on Fiji and Argentina before facing World Cup runners-up Australia next month, and coach Jones will no doubt be demanding an improvement if they are to end the year with a 100% record.
Having claimed the grand slam and whitewashed Australia, England were looking to end the year with another landmark achievement. Never before have the Red Rose won all four of their autumn internationals but having had confidence reinstalled by Jones over the past 12 months there was optimism they could end the year unbeaten for the first time since 1992.
A South Africa side left bruised and beaten after the Rugby Championship, who England had not beaten in their last 12 attempts, their longest ever winless steak against an international rival, represented the first and perhaps most challenging obstacle for the hosts. Allister Coetzee's team remain in transition since finishing third at the Rugby World Cup yet knew their phycological edge could prove significant.
The visitors will also have been encouraged by a length England injury list which included locks Maro Itoje and George Kruis, wingers Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell and number eight James Haskell. Though South Africa were without Duane Vermeulen, JP Pietersen did return to a team with a front five weighing in excess of 89 stone and ready to match England at the scrum.
Having not played since beating Australia in Sydney in June, England were ring rusty as a result in the opening minutes, with Lambie kicking South Africa into a 6-0 lead. But it didn't take long for the home side to recapture their stride and they hit the front when Marland Yarde and Mike Brown combined to release May, who went over on his first international appearance for 13 months.
Lambie missed the chance to put his side back in front but after England were penalised for the sixth time in the first half the Sharks half back punished the Six Nations champions from the floor. Another moment of ill-discipline worked to underline a sloppy England first half display in which they unable to string together consecutive phases and were being outmuscled by the two-time world champions at the breakdown.
A Farrell penalty, which followed South Africa losing Eben Etzebeth to a concussion, put England's noses in front from a scrum penalty and the effort helped turn the tide. England ratcheted up the pressure and from a turnover grabbed their second try before the break as Brown forced Russ Combrink into a handling error on the greasy surface and after he kicked through, Lawes gobbled up the chance to mark his 50th cap with his first international try.
And either side of half time England cemented their lead and took a giant stride towards ending a decade of hurt against South Africa. First, Elliot Daly kicked a penalty from 45 meters before less than four minutes after the restart Ben Youngs wandered through and set up Ford to score a third try.
Farrell's second penalty put England in cruise control and extended their lead to three scores, allowing Jones to hand a debut to Nathan Hughes, while Jamie George replaced captain Dylan Hartley. The changes, which also included Kyle Sinckler's first appearance, led to some England complacency and South Africa took advantage as Warren Whiteley, via a borderline forward pass by debutant Francois Venter fed replacement Goosen who went over in the corner.
But there was to be no comeback by the visitors and the garnish was put on an inevitable England victory when Youngs ghosted through the South Africa midfield, allowing Farrell to score. Despite Le Roux's try in the corner reducing the arrears, the scoreline did not reflect the chasm between the two sides, who are braced for contrasting fortunes during the remainder of the year.