Habana celebrates his second try
South Africa 58 (30)
Tries: Willemse, Habana 2, De Villiers, Burger, Steyn, CJ van der Linde
Cons: Montgomery 7
Pens: Montgomery 3
England 10 (3)
England's injury and illness-ravaged side suffered a record defeat to South Africa as the Springboks ran riot in the first Test in Bloemfontein.
South Africa were only 6-0 up after 16 minutes but Ashwin Willemse's try and long-range efforts from Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers put them 30-3 up.
Replacement James Simpson-Daniel pulled a score back but South Africa never looked in danger of losing.
And they crossed four times in the last 10 minutes to seal a seven-try victory.
We showed character but we weren't good enough on the day
England skipper Jason Robinson
England, without more than 30 players because of club duties and injuries, had also lost Nick Wood through injury and David Strettle, Andy Farrell and Peter Richards through illness before the game.
They started the match without a replacement hooker after Matt Cairns was unable to take his place on the bench, his spot taken by Bath prop Matt Stevens.
And coach Brian Ashton will be rueing a host of first-half mistakes that helped give South Africa, who were not at their best, a fine victory.
England's previous record defeat was in 1984 when the Springboks won 35-9 in Johannesburg.
South Africa put in a powerful performance in Bloemfontein
But the men in white held their own in the opening 15 minutes despite Percy Montgomery putting the home side ahead with a penalty after Chris Jones was caught with his hands in the ruck on three minutes.
A promising attacking position was wasted by wing Iain Balshaw who went for an ambitious drop goal when keeping possession would have been a better option and Montgomery added a second penalty as South Africa started to gain momentum.
A Springbok try was on the cards and it duly came three minutes later with Willemse scoring on his international return after England lost their own line-out.
England tried to get back into the game with outside centre Mathew Tait's break setting up an attack but Chris Jones' dreadful pass was picked up by Blue Bulls speedster Habana who turned on the gas to run in from 80m out.
Jonny Wilkinson gave England a moment of respite with a monstrous penalty from inside his own half but Montgomery added three points after prop Stuart Turner was penalised at the scrum.
And South Africa added a third try on 39 minutes when inside centre Jean de Villiers capitalised after an England attack broke down to carve his way through the defence before turning Mike Brown and Balshaw inside out for a fine try.
With some undoubtedly stern words from Ashton ringing in their ears, England showed a bit more purpose going forward at the start of the second half.
Toby Flood's cute chip forced Butch James to hastily scramble in his own in-goal area while England's backs had obviously been told to use the boot more to play in their opponent's half.
But South Africa always looked dangerous and after Nick Easter knocked on, Willemse carved England open although the visitors managed to survive with the help of some fine defence from Jason Robinson.
Simpson-Daniel produced a lively display after coming on for Balshaw
The game was held up on 57 minutes as Balshaw received treatment for a serious-looking shin injury and his replacement James Simpson-Daniel soon made his mark when he was sent over in the corner after a well-worked backs move.
South Africa seemed to be happy with their lot but with England tiring, they upped the pace and substitute Pierre Spies crashed through Robinson to give Schalk Burger a well-deserved try on 71 minutes.
Francois Steyn converted an easy opportunity two minutes later as England lost their shape while Habana added his second after beating Robinson to a Montgomery kick-through.
And the rout was completed in the closing moments when C J van der Linde barged his way over to give Ashton plenty to think about ahead of the second Test in Pretoria next weekend.
South Africa: Montgomery; Willemse, Olivier, de Villiers,
Habana; James, Januarie; Carstens, Smit, BJ Botha, Bakkies Botha,
Matfield, Burger, Smith, Rossouw.
Replacements: Pienaar for de Villiers (64), Steenkamp for Carstens (48), G Botha for Smit (71), van der Linde for BJ Botha (41), Muller for Bakkies Botha (41), Spies for Rossouw (55).
England: M Brown; Balshaw, Tait, Flood, Robinson; Wilkinson, Gomarsall; Yates, Regan, Turner, Schofield, A. Brown, Jones, Hazell, Easter.
Replacements: Simpson-Daniel for Balshaw (58), Perry for Wilkinson (73), Crompton for Turner (53), Winters for Jones (56), Sanderson for Hazell (41).
Not Used: Stevens, Allen.
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand).