AFTER weeks of Pommie bashing, Sydney last weekend finally provided Clive Woodward and his squad the finest favour they could think of - a cloudy, windy day that saw the French drown in the heavy deluge.
Prior to the game, England were simply not going to make it to the final according to everyone Down Under except for the thousands of fans sporting the St George flag and white replica shirts plus, of course, the players' mothers.
The French were simply slow to adapt even to rugby at times with flanker Serge Betsen lucky to stay on the park after a crushing soccer tackle on Mike Catt early on in the game.
That was followed later on by a full exposure of studs by winger Christophe Dominici that nearly denied 'Billy Whizz' one of his legs.
Fortunately the Frenchman had chosen ex-Wigan Warrior hero Jason Robinson, arguably one of the fittest athletes in the game.
England manager Clive Woodward made no fuss. He can be like that especially when he can see his superbly focused side in the ascendancy. He had chosen the side for the occasion with Mike Catt coming into the line-up and Mike Tindall on the bench.
'Superboots' Jonny Wilkinson confirmed that he is the best kicker in the world and the England pack can take on anyone in this tournament when they are at full strength.
In the aftermath of it all, England were branded as 'boring'. So what? According to Woodward, they are in Australia to win the Webb Ellis Trophy and you can only do that by keeping on beating sides you meet.
Moreover, choosing horses for courses is vital.
"We made a change for the French game and it was based on who we were playing," Woodward said. "This week we are facing Australia and it is right to go back to having Tindall in the centre with Will Greenwood. We are here to win. It is as simple as that.
"England can play with a lot of width. We have done so for the last 24 months but you don't win the World Cup just by playing with width. You win by winning all your games.
"How we play on Saturday will depend on the conditions. You will find out how we go about it on Saturday night."
There is certainly calm in the English ranks and a quiet confidence that they will be the first northern hemisphere side to carry off the title.
If they do that it might silence one or two loud mouths down here, especially if they can do it in style.
In fact Jason Robinson is convinced it might be achieved that way.
"We know we can win big games and play attractively," Jason said. "We have won games here in the tournament without playing as well as we know we can.
"We have been described as boring but I don't agree with that. You just get games like the one last Sunday now and again.
"Saturday will be the biggest game we will ever play in," he added. "It is a game we have put a lot of work into. We have not come here to come second. We believe in what we have and we believe we can do the job."