A CRUSHING win over Uruguay at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, home of the Broncos, this last weekend has certainly helped Clive Woodward's men to recover from almost the shock of a lifetime when Samoa came within a whisker of creating the upset of the tournament the weekend before.
They couldn't find any excuses in Melbourne because the roof was closed and a near record crowd for a sporting occasion there saw the joint favourites for the RWC denied possession for most of the early exchanges.
"It was just strange not having our hands on the ball." England's flanker Joe Worsley told me. "I honestly cannot recall over the years the side experiencing anything like it.The Samoans played superbly." Even 'Mr Reliable' Jonny Wilkinson was knocked out of his stride and missed some kicks that he usually back-heels over the cross bar.
There was more humilation to come when some Australians, especially their injured star Kefu, accused them of cheating and claiming that the IRB should strip them of the points for winning. But quite frankly, to suggest that they had had 16 men on the field was simply nonsense and not supported by visual evidence, according to St Helens born ex-World Cup referee Fred Howard, who was sitting in front of a TV monitor in Sydney studios.
Clive Woodward did later admit that there had been an error in allowing former Orrell winger Dan Luger to go on without the permission of the fourth official.
Subsequently, of course, England were fined £10,000 and Dave Reddin, their fitness coach, was banned from the touchline for two games.
England's management began to show signs of stress and wearing the favourites' baseball cap wasn't comfortable any longer. There were varied reports that they didn't want the media accommodated in the same hotel on the Gold Coast where they were hoping for rest and recuperation far away from Joe Public.
Fortunately, the England squad appeared to be much more at ease with themselves in midweek enjoying relaxing and a variety of recreational activities in their luxurious accommodation away from the madding crowds.
"This was just what we needed." replacement scrum-half Kyren Bracken, who spent his early years at St Edwards College in Sandfield Park, said. "We have had a long and hard period of preparation for this World Cup and to be able to play some golf and sit by the pool was just what we required."
The game against minnows Uruguay went just to plan with England giving a chance to some of their second string and also hoping that big Lawrence Dallaglio might raise his game.
Clive Woodward seemed happier afterwards with his performance - not a view held by most of us. The only blemish was the injury to Lancastrian Iain Balshaw, who damaged an ankle in a tackle after a sparkling performance.
It was also a great opportunity to try and redress the balance over their recent grim penalty count with former Wirral-based international referee Steve Lander no doubt having worked hard with the squad to put things right.
As anticipated another capacity crowd cheered on Uruguay as the underdogs. Many were also aware that the South Americans had suffered a tragic air crash in the Andes 30 years ago in which 16 survived for 72 days by eating the bodies of their dead companions.
Several members of the current party either lost or had relatives who survived the disaster.
Sadly near the end flanker Joe Worsley was sin-binned for a high tackle and made light of his dismissal by applauding the English fans as he left the field - not a piece of behaviour his manager approved of and it is understood that later he was given a reprimand.