- Two South African tries deny England a third Investec International victory
- Six points from Flood and a try by Ben Foden not enough to defeat South Africa
England 11 South Arfica 21
Second-half tries from Willem Alberts and Lwazi Mvovo ensured victory for South Africa over a battling England at Twickenham.
Martin Johnson's side were looking to round off a successful autumn campaign with a third win in four games, but after a bright start were outdone by the Springboks, who ran out 21-11 victors.
The sides were level at half-time but after losing the influential Tom Croft and Toby Flood shortly before the break, England conceded a penalty minutes into the second half and South Africa led from then to the final whistle.
Replacement Alberts was sent over in the right hand corner before debutant winger Mvovo ghosted through the England back line five minutes later to effectively seal matters.
An intercept try from full-back Ben Foden two minutes from the end represented somr consolation for Johnson's men, who battled hard but ultimately failed to deal with the Springboks pack.
A tight start
Flood opened the scoring early on after Jannie du Plessis illegally took out Ben Youngs after the England scrum-half had taken a tap penalty.
The penalty count was rising and when England conceded another free-kick followed by a penalty Morne Steyn was able to level the scores after ten minutes.
But the hosts responded, and when Shontayne Hape was taken out in the air on half-way, Flood went for touch.
England drove forward from the lineout through Andrew Sheridan before Steyn hit the ruck from the side and Flood scored the resulting penalty. England defended brilliantly after Foden had been caught in possession and conceded a five-metre scrum, the Springboks creating an opening for Victor Matfield who seemed set to score, only for Courtney Lawes to pull off an outstanding tackle on the line.
But they suffered a blow when Croft went off with a shoulder injury after 21 minutes, and the tourists continued to pile on pressure in the opposition 22, although when Steyn was presented with a simple penalty chance he pulled it left of the uprights.
His namesake Francois also shaved a post with a long range drop goal attempt, but once again, South Africa pressed, Pierre Spies failing to offload to Gio Aplon allowing Foden the chance to carry him into touch.
Flood, injured in the build-up to the Matfield effort, failed to make the interval and was replaced by Charlie Hodgson, while opposite number Steyn levelled four minutes before the end of the half after England spoiled a ruck on their own line.
Building the pressure
Three minutes after the break and South Africa were ahead for the first time - veteran Mike Tindall spotted in an offside position and Steyn making no mistake with the penalty.
England responded well though, driving towards the line through Dylan Hartley and Nick Easter, and although they camped on the try-line for several minutes looking for an opening, Easter was hit by three defenders and the ball fell clear as the Springboks survived.
South Africa began to ring the changes with prop CJ Van Der Linde and flanker Willem Alberts sent on - and both made an immediate impact.
The England scrum struggled as the Springboks wheeled one and then hooked a ball against the head. Morne Steyn kicked ahead and Cueto conceded the lineout.
South Africa drove through phase after phase before moving the ball wide and Spies' neat, delayed pass sent Alberts over in the corner.
Hodgson tried a cross-kick which Mvovo gathered and he then drew the penalty as Ashton and Hape came off their feet and Morne Steyn teed up the attacking lineout.
Both Steyns dropped back into position for a drop goal but the Springboks instead worked the ball wide for Mvovo, who brushed past Ashton to score on 70 minutes.
England were gifted a late try after Foden picked off Van Der Linde's offload and sprinted 90 metres to score. Tindall tried the quick drop-goal conversion and hit the post to end an afternoon of frustration.