ENGLAND'S World Cup triumph will live long in the memory of rugby fans across the globe and marks a magnificent achievement, not least because it was delivered ahead of schedule.
The Rugby Football Union's blueprint for success envisaged England claiming the Webb Ellis trophy in 2007 with the Twickenham hierarchy recently handing Clive Woodward an improved contract which would see him remain in charge until the end of that tournament.
But now that England's head coach has exceeded expectation, he faces the challenge of guiding the national side to a second stint as world champions.
His task is to rebuild the team, starting with the ageing pack dubbed "Dad's Army" by Wallaby number eight Toutai Kefu.
Martin Johnson and co made a mockery of that statement at the Telstra Stadium on Saturday and admitted that they used Kefu's words as the motivation for their mammoth forward effort against Australia.
But it is undeniable that many of them are the wrong side of 30 and when veterans such as Johnson, Neil Back, Richard Hill, Jason Leonard and Lawrence Dallaglio do retire, they will leave a gaping hole at the very core of the team.
Johnson has yet to make a decision on whether he will play on, but at 34 there surely can not be too many seasons left in the old warrior.
Likewise the 34-year-old Neil Back, although he insists he feels fitter than ever.
Dallaglio and Hill will certainly not be around at the next World Cup either and although Woodward said he wants to see the same 30 players back for next year's RBS Six Nations, he must have one eye trained on the future.