MIKE TINDALL'S first thoughts last night were for his Bath team-mate Mike Catt after clinching a place in the England World Cup final team.
Tough-tackling centre Tindall was omitted in favour of Catt for the semi-final victory over France last weekend, but the pair have now swapped places, with Catt on the bench.
It is the same England side that beat Australia 25-14 in Melbourne five months ago, apart from at scrum-half, where Matt Dawson takes over from Kyran Bracken.
England scored three tries against the Wallabies that day - Tindall, Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood touching down - making a mockery of the relentless Australian media campaign this week blasting the Six Nations champions for their reliance on goalkicker Jonny Wilkinson. "Last week was difficult - you never want to be left out. It was disappointing, but you can't get down about it. You have got to get on with it," said Tindall.
"I always knew I had a chance of getting back in this week. Luckily for me, and unluckily for Catty, it has reversed itself and I am back in.
"We said very little to each other. It was a quick tap on the shoulder, 'well done, mate' and you just get on with it. It's a management decision, and there is no point us talking about it, we've just got to get on with it.
"You always dream about playing in a World Cup final, but I don't think I ever fully imagined it would actually happen. It hasn't really sunk in.
"It's hard. The team had just beaten France, and you think they are not going to want to change things, but it's out of your control and you have got to get on and train hard," he added.
Tindall was a huge motivational figure around the England camp last week, as he put his crushing personal disappointment to one side in favour of supporting those who played against France.
"I was as disappointed as I could be for being on the bench, but they are all your best friends and they are going out there to play a one-off game that you dream you were in," he said. "You have to give them every encouragement - they went out there and did a job.
"Clive Woodward has always said for the last year and a half that the World Cup is going to be won by 30 players, not by 15 or 22, and everyone has played their part in it.
"Myself and Catty know each other so well. There is nothing we can do about it, we can't argue between each other, it's a management decision. Last week it was hard on Catty, this week, it's hard on me.
"It's hard, but luckily, that's why we don't pick the team."
England boss Woodward had no real selection issues, and it is a vastly-experienced combination, with six of the starting XV - Wilkinson, Dawson, skipper Martin Johnson, Richard Hill, Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio - boasting 50 Test caps or more.