The Springboks won the series against England 2-0 after victories in Durban and Johannesburg but came under massive pressure in extra time at a wet Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
With the visitors unable to find a way through the Springboks defence the ball was passed back to replacement No.10 Owen Farrell whose field goal attempt was low and wide to the relief of most in a capacity 45,000 crowd earning both sides a 14 all draw.
It was unusual that the normally dependable South African goal kicker and fly-half Morne Steyn had another off-day missing three of six shots at goal and a late drop-goal attempt that failed.
Steyn kicked three penalties and right-wing JP Pietersen scored his second try in as many Tests for the Springboks while scrum-half Danny Care crossed the line for England and Farrell and fly-half Toby Flood kicked three penalties between them.
The result ended a run of nine consecutive victories by South Africa over England since 2006 and was only the second draw between the countries in 35 Tests with the first 106 years ago at Crystal Palace in London.
England played reasonably well but the Springboks who were off their game and must be disappointed with their effort taking poor options under sustained pressure from the robust England team.
England on the other hand played as well as they could grafting away to keep in the game as well as putting up a solid defence and good ball retention, but they could not get the result they desperately wanted.
England were ahead in less than two minutes as South Africa got caught offside and Flood kicked a simple penalty before missing a second more difficult attempt.
With seven minutes gone the teams were level as another offside infringement offered Steyn the chance to kick his first penalty on a ground where he scored all 18 points in a triumph over New Zealand last year.
An attempted clearance kick by Steyn that was blocked by the impressive England No.8 Thomas Waldrom led to England regaining the lead after 11 minutes through a try from former English rugby 'bad boy' Care.
The charge down led to England bursting down the centre and when the home team were penalised, Care spotted a gap, took a quick tap penalty and dived over between prop Jannie du Plessis and lock Eben Etzebeth.
Flood saw his conversion drift just left of the far post and Steyn cut the deficit to two points with another successful penalty kick at the 16th minutes as the English pack continued to be penalised at rucks and mauls.
Steyn missed his third penalty kick while England found themselves down to a third-choice fly-half with Alex Goode coming forward from full-back as injuries sidelined Flood permanently and replacement Farrell temporarily.
Farrell axed following the first Test loss in Durban, returned after Steyn kicked a 28th-minute penalty to edge the Springboks 9-8 ahead and close the opening-half scoring.
But it could have been a wider margin at the break as a multi-phase attack by the Springboks brought them close to the English line before 20-year-old Etzebeth knocked on.
Both teams had penalty chances within the first 10 minutes of the second half and while Farrell made no mistake from close range, Steyn fluffed a more difficult opportunity.
After numerous warnings to the English forwards for infringements, Australian referee Steve Walsh lost his patience at the 51st minute and yellow carded New Zealand-born Hartley.
South Africa spent a lot of time in the England half and were rewarded just past the hour mark when line-out possession led to an assault on the line and a skip pass from replacement scrum-half Ruan Pienaar sent JP Pietersen over in the corner.
Steyn failed to convert from far out but the Springboks were ahead 14-11 only for England to level when Farrell kicked his second close-range penalty eight minutes from time.
England at least slightly was better off than Wales and Ireland who both lost their three Test series against Australia and New Zealand respectively.
It has been an interesting concept to play Test matches mid-season and I know the local unions benefitted financially from the Test series but I doubt that Ireland, Wales and England were prepared for what they faced.
Whether it goes ahead next year only time will tell but based on the results over the last three weeks Northern Hemisphere rugby is still a long way behind their Southern Hemisphere cousins.