THE weather was utterly filthy and the rugby was downright ugly.
But who cares? England are in the rugby World Cup final against Australia on Saturday following their 24-7 victory against France in the Telstra stadium - and how beautiful is that?
Beforehand, England head coach Clive Woodward had received a message from Jack Charlton, that tower of defence when England's footballers won the Jules Rimet trophy back in 1966.
"Just win," was Big Jack's message. "That's all that matters."
And that's exactly what England did with vast power and huge heart - and the truly phenomenal boot of Jonny Wilkinson.
The critics had been twisting the knife into the England fly-half this past fortnight.
And they had come to the conclusion that he was only one missed drop kick away from the men in white coats.
Well, how wrong they were. Because not only did Wilkinson kick three drop goals to go with five penalties to score all his side's points and ease England to a convincing triumph, he also controlled the ebb and flow of everything England created.
'Ebb and flow' - entirely appropriate considering the humid, frazzling temperatures of Saturday's first semi-final that gave way to an antipodean monsoon.
You would hardly have known it from Wilkinson's performance. While French fly-half Frederic Michalak struggled, Wilkinson was the coolest man in this most laid back of cities.
He was superb, but there were sodden heroes in white shirts all over the Telstra stadium - men such as Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back who took the battle to the French back row along with the ubiquitous Richard Hill, playing his first match for five weeks and bringing much-needed bite and urgency to the English challenge.
They knew they required a performance of huge intensity against a French side which had improved and bedazzled with every game.
But not even Woodward at his most optimistic could have hoped for more favourable conditions when the heavens opened and turned this famous Olympic Park into a dank and stormy November evening.
As the rain lashed down and the huge swathes of white shirts belted out 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' we could have been back at Twickenham.
It was bulldozing, barging rugby, straight out of the mud fields of Middle England - perfect conditions, if the truth be told, for the biggest, most fearsome forwards in the world.
In the first half that huge English juggernaut plundered 63 per cent of the possession - such an unequal slice of the action that it always had French rugby's World Cup death certificate written all over it.
Woodward had always insisted, even when the critics have been twisting their quills, that this England side would come good.
He had said much the same about Australia when no-one gave them a hope against the All Blacks. He was right then and he was right yesterday. Will he be right next week when the Telstra stadium will rock to huge home support and the gold jerseys of Australia take their place in an historic third World Cup final?
There are no guarantees for no nation on earth can rise to the rugby occasion with the passion and efficiency of Australia.
But they'll give it their best shot and with Wilkinson in the side their 'best shot' is simply the most ruthless finisher in world rugby.