Ben Morgan scored two tries as England produced a classic forwards performance to beat Australia 26-17 but the Wallabies showed enough to suggest there will be nothing between the teams when they meet again in the World Cup next year.
Both sides had lost two of their three November internationals and were desperate to gain some sort of advantage ahead of what could be a pivotal pool meeting back at Twickenham in 10 months.
England, deservedly, got the win with their forwards sending a message that they will be a tough proposition for anyone in next year’s tournament.
“It has been a tough four weeks but I’m so proud of the way the guys have stuck together,” England captain Chris Robshaw told Sky Sports. “The we played today was a bit more fluid.
“We still feel there are areas of our game we need to improve on but hats off to the front-five boys.”
Australia have now lost to France, Ireland and England and with just a solitary win over Wales in their worst autumn tour since 2005.
Elsewhere, Wales ended their long and frustrating wait for victory over a southern hemisphere heavyweight when Leigh Halfpenny kicked them to a 12-6 victory over South Africa.
Welsh celebrations were at odds with Springbok gloom. Among the World Cup favourites when they return to these shores next year, their northern hemisphere tour was marred by an apparent serious leg injury suffered by captain and centre Jean de Villiers.
It was only a second win for Wales in 28 games against the big three of New Zealand, Australia and the Springboks, and the first over South Africa since 1999 having lost their last 16 before Saturday’s triumph.
Wales had come agonsingly close to beating the Springboks in June, a late converted penalty try condemning them to a 31-30 defeat in Nelspruit.