Springboks sign off with a win, All Blacks power on

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Updated: November 25, 2012

South Africa held on at Twickenham to beat England in their last match of the season, the All Blacks powered to another win, Michalak came to the rescue again for France, Australia edged Italy and Scotland sank to a new low during Autumn International week 3.

It wasn’t pretty but it was a win for South Africa at Twickenham in their final match for 2012. South Africa did just enough to win 16-15 to remain unbeaten on their season ending tour. The Boks have now stretched their unbeaten run against England to 11 matches – with a 14-all draw in June the only mishap since South Africa’s last loss to England back in 2006. It is also the first time since 2008 that the Boks won all their matches on their year-end tour.

New Zealand continued their unbeaten run with a 33-10 demolition job of Wales. It has not just been 10 years since the All Blacks lost a match on a year-end tour – when England beat them in November 2002 – but it was their 28th consecutive victory on these November visits to the Northern hemisphere. Aaron Cruden, standing in for the injured Dan Carter, was at the heart of the World Cup victory by the World Cup champions, New Zealand. The All Blacks outscored the Welsh three tries to two, but 18 points from the boot of the flawless Cruden, quick play of the ball, a ruthless defence and mastery at the breakdown were key to their success at a packed Millennium Stadium.

Andy Robinson looks set to quit Scotland following another embarrassing loss, this time 21-15 to Tonga. Having been hammered by the superpowers of the southern hemisphere in a disastrous autumn series, few would have imagined the Scots could slump even lower to claim a mini wooden spoon. But the fired-up Tongans took Aberdeen by storm to claim their first ever test triumph on the European stage.

Rejuvenated fly-half Frederic Michalak scored 19 points as France twice came from behind to defeat Samoa 22-14 in their one-off test. The win gave France a sweep of their autumn series matches after beating Australia 33-6 and Argentina 39-22.

Craig Gilroy starred for Ireland on debut, as they finally won after 5 straight defeats. Ireland romped to a 7 try win over Argentina, 46-24.

Australia held on through a spirited fightback to escape from Florence with a 22-19 win over Italy.