But this was a chance for sweet revenge. A chance for the Aussies to put to rest the Rugby World cup demons of 2003 when England stole the World Cup from under their noses.
The atmosphere electric as game time approached; Twickenham was a wall of noise in support of the home team.
England pressed, nearly going over, but Australia responded well with Bernard Foley scoringr the first of two tries which he duly converted. Australia were in control, restricting England to limited chances with David Pocock, as always, controlling the breakdown.
With Australia leading 17-3 at half time, the English knew their World Cup depended on it and came out all guns a blazing, getting themselves back into the game with a well worked try from Anthony Watson. As the Australian forwards looked like they were starting to struggle, it seemed for a moment that England could push on.
But the Wallabies had different ideas, a succession of penalties conceded at the scrum enabled the the visitors to keep a seven point margin. England were still putting up a fight but on 70 minutes Owen Farrell was shown the yellow card for tackling a player without the ball and use of the shoulder. And with that, England’s hopes of a comeback were gone.
Australia remained resolute and with the man advantage, Matt Giteau was able to get across the line to delight the Aussies in the crowd and to confirm England’s exit from their home tournament.
Coach Cheika was delighted with his players.
“There are a lot of areas we can improve on. The commitment was very good and we will improve on that going forward,” he said of the performance.
“We really wanted it; to win and to play well. We knew there would be a lot of pain in England’s backyard. It was outrageously loud and we wanted to get stuck in from the start.”
The truth is that England were not at their best, and Australia made them pay. David Pocock once again showed why he is a supreme player and his effort and influence throughout the game was monumental.
Can the Aussies go on and win this tournament? Why not?
Will they try and win the group outright and avoid having to play New Zealand? They just might. Either way, the atmosphere at Twickenham next week will be very different and there will be even more Aussies in the crowd – keep an eye on ebay for all those resale tickets.