Saints star Tom Wood secured the man of the match award as England stunned world champions New Zealand 38-21 at Twickenham.
The flanker played a huge role in one of the Red Rose’s most memorable results of all time as they beat the All Blacks for the first time since 2003.
And Northampton lock Courtney Lawes also got some minutes under his belt, coming off the bench during the second half with the Red Rose running riot.
Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell kicked the Kiwis out of the game with 17 points and second-half scores from Brad Barritt, former Saint Chris Ashton and the tantalising Manu Tuilagi ensured a resounding win.
New Zealand, who were hit by a bout of sickness in the build-up to the game, were all at sea but replied through second-half scores from Julian Savea, who got a brace, and Keiran Reid.
England refused to be denied, keeping their foot on the gas to accelerate away and end the All Blacks’ 20-match unbeaten run.
The home side were 15-0 up at half-time thanks to the boot of Farrell, but New Zealand threatened to turn the game on its head with scores from Savea and Reid.
Tuilagi took the game by the scruff of the neck to ensure the recovery never materialised, setting up tries for Barritt and Ashton, who ended a 13-month wait for an international score, before crossing the line himself.
It meant the happiest of endings to the year for England, while New Zealand’s hopes of ending 2012 without defeat were crushed.
Lancaster’s men made their intentions clear from the outset, forcing the All Blacks back and squeezing errors out of their backline.
But it was the away side who had the first shot at goal as the man reported to be a transfer target for Saints, London Irish prop Alex Corbisiero gave away a penalty for offside.
However, unusually, the world’s best No.10 Dan Carter fired his kick to the right of the uprights.
England took full advantage as they pinned New Zealand back and won a penalty, which Farrell slotted with aplomb.
Farrell’s fellow IRB Player of the Year nominee Carter was enduring a torrid time, though, again missing a kick at goal after Ben Morgan had infringed.
The All Blacks, who saw their camp swept by a bout of sickness in the build-up to the game, were all at sea, making errors and knocking the ball on.
And England stretched their lead on 32 minutes as superb work from Wood at the breakdown earned a penalty, which Farrell turned into points.
The Red Rose were swarming all over the All Blacks and more good work at a ruck resulted in a chance for Farrell to send the home fans into delirium with a drop goal.
The Saracens man was having a stormer and his first half cake was iced with a long-range penalty which sent England in 12-0 up and left New Zealand with their tails placed firmly between their legs.
It seemed to be a certainty that the Kiwis would come back, kicking and screaming after the break, but they immediately surrendered the restart and gave away a penalty.
Farrell was once again spot on from the tee and a ear-beating chorus of ‘Swing Low’ echoed around Twickenham.
But, as expected, the All Blacks finally mounted a response and quick hands saw Israel Dagg send Savea over, despite the best efforts of Wood.
Ominously, Carter managed to find his kicking boots to land a tricky conversion and England’s advantage was down to eight points at 15-7.
Suddenly the All Blacks had regained their swagger and England had no answer as Morgan missed a tackle on the lively Cory Jane and No.8 Reid dotted down.
Carter again bisected the posts with the conversion and in the space of just three minutes the Red Rose had shipped 14 points, holding a slender one-point lead.
But Stuart Lancaster’s men are made of stern stuff and they reacted immediately.
Tuilagi is a man know knows a thing or two about combinations, just ask Ashton, and the Leicester star teed up centre partner Barritt to score a fine try.
This time, Farrell was just shy, hitting the crossbar with his kick but England went for the jugular once more from the restart, Tuilagi offloading brilliant for Ashton to score and perform his trademark ‘Ash Splash’.
Tigers centre Tuilagi was too hot to handle and he got the try his excellence merited, searing through to score.
Farrell converted and England were in ecstasy at 32-14 up with less than 20 minutes to go.
Burns added two penalties soon after before Savea got his second score of the game and replacement Aaron Cruden converted to bring the All Blacks to within 17 points.
But that was as close as they got.