The clock had ticked past the 80-minute mark at Twickenham with England desperately trying to keep the Springboks at bay when Farrell smashed into replacement Andre Esterhuizen, knocking him back and dislodging the ball.
Nobody epitomises that more than Owen Farrell, who is one of the best players in the world, and England's talisman.
The Red Rose raised their game in the second half to gain revenge for a 2-1 series defeat in June, Elliot Daly scoring a magnificent long-range penalty and Farrell splitting the posts eight minutes from time after missing an earlier opportunity.
He appeared to lead with the shoulder in tackling Andre Esterhuizen, an offence that under the current crackdown on risky tackles could have resulted in a red card being issued by referee Angus Gardner.
"You can get cited now for something you did at a party when you were 15", he said.
He added: "We've not really spoken about it but it feels important that we've won to reward the boys for the effort they've put in especially off the field".
Mayor of Utah city killed in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan
RS said in a statement that initial reports indicate the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. The officials say another USA service member is being treated for wounds sustained in the attack in Kabul on Saturday, Nov. 3.
But the officials decided Farrell had made enough of a legal challenge not to award a penalty that could have seen South Africa snatch victory.
Farrell could yet be retrospectively punished for the tackle, with the citing commissioner to review the match over the next 24 hours.
"We had so many chances that we could've taken, but England played really well today. As I said, I think we can be a bit more clinical but it's important to get the win and we'll enjoy this week and look forward to the next Test".
Jones said lock Courtney Lawes and centre Manu Tuilagi could come into contention against the All Blacks following injury, while he refused to rule out flanker Tom Curry, who required crutches after hobbling off in the second half.
Jones hinted at frustration with the penalties conceded, though, and Maro Itoje was sin-binned early on.
England have not played the 2011 and 2015 world champions for four years. Not enough evidence that there was no attempt to wrap an arm. It's a tight call but felt there was something there not to decide a Test match on.
You couldn't question England's desire during the opening match of their "autumn series", but if they are to have any chance of gazumping the New Zealanders at headquarters next weekend they will surely need to find ways to add some energy and variety to their attack.