Twelve years of waiting, four years of preparation, 80 minutes of toil and one huge moment of relief.
For the first time since 2007, England are through to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
This was a rampant victory in Oita. They drew out their samurai sword to kill off Australia with a statement scoreline. A victory that will make the world stand up and take notice.
Jonny May adds his second try of the match to increase Eddie Jones’ side’s advantage in their quarter-final clash on Saturday
May celebrates with his team-mates including George Ford (right) who was left out of the starting line-up on Saturday
Farrell was as reliable as ever with his kicking as he converts England’s second try of the match during the first half
England fans celebrate in Japan as they reach World Cup semi-final for the first time in 12 years after crushing Australia
All hail Eddie Jones’ bold selections. It was boom-or-bust for the England coach and his decisions paid off.
Back in the No 10 jersey, Owen Farrell was immaculate with the boot.
Back in the No 13 jersey, Henry Slade produced a game-changing moment with a deft kick up there with the best.
And in the forwards, Sam Underhill and Tom Curry outplayed and outmuscled the iconic pairing of David Pocock and Michael Hooper.
England’s players gathered in a huddle on the final whistle and breathed a sigh of relief that has been building up since 2015.
Before kick-off, the Oita air is filled with scattered clouds from the hot springs and an eggy smell of sulphur. There was also a whiff of concern about what lay ahead for an undercooked side whose match against France was blown out by the typhoon.
Farrell scored three penalties in the second half to put extra daylight between the two sides and put pressure on Australia
For the opening 10 minutes, England looked riddled by nerves. Australia were all-out-attack.
They launched an early 18-siege phase on England’s line, with Will Genia setting the tempo from the base of the ruck. Aged 19, Jordan Petaia was tipped for a baptism of fire on his first Test start at centre, but he played the opening 10 minutes like a young Sonny Bill Williams.
England had to make 30 tackles in the opening minutes, as the Wallabies antagonised Kyle Sinckler at the scrum with elbows and head pats. With 12 minutes on the clock, Billy Vunipola was penalised for a high tackle and Christian Lealifano kicked the opening points.
This was the game that England – and Eddie Jones – simply could not afford to lost. The RFU have invested millions of pounds into Jones’ win-at-all-costs campaign and a quarter final defeat would have represented a catastrophic failure. The walls back at Twickenham would be covered in blood.
Kyle Sinckler of England holds off Kurtley Beale of Australia as he touches down to score his team’s third try on Saturday
Farrell’s kicking was spot on as he made it four from four to convert Sinckler’s try and increase England’s advantage
England: Daly, Watson, Slade, Tuilagi, May, Farrell, Youngs, M. Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Curry, Underhill, B. Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Cole, Kruis, Ludlam, Heinz, Ford, Joseph.
Tries: May 2, Sinckler, Watson Pens: Farrell 4 Cons: Farrell 4
Australia: Beale, Hodge, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete, Lealiifano, Genia, Sio, Latu, Alaalatoa, Rodda, Arnold, Pocock, Hooper, Naisarani.
Replacements: Uelese, Slipper, Tupou, Coleman, Salakaia-Loto, White, Toomua, O’Connor.
Tries: Koroibete Pens: Lealiifano 3 Cons: Lealiifano
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Reaching the semi-final is a ‘pass’. Fans do not need to change their flights and return to the rainy runways of Heathrow. They are happy. Losing to the All Blacks in the likely semi-final would be nothing other than expected, so Jones is clear of any inquests into where it all went wrong.
England soon sussed out Australia’s high-risk strategy and delivered their most comprehensive World Cup performance for years.
They made 171 tackles in total, including a notable early hit from Underhill, who dumped Isi Naisarani on his backside. Australia knocked on under pressure and England fed off their scraps like hyenas.
With Farrell, Slade and Elliot Daly, England were able to quickly moved the ball through one way and another, with Manu Tuilagi dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘t’s with busting runs through midfield.
With 18 minutes on the clock, the combination play paid off and Curry set up Jonny May on the left wing.
Farrell converted from wide out of the left touchline, overcoming his creaky kicking display against Argentina with the first of a 20-point haul.
Within minutes, one try became two. Australia were stunned. Slade intercepted a loose pass from Pocock and sprinted out of his own 22.
With May screaming and waving in his rearview mirror, Slade poked a kick behind Samu Kerevi. Few players can beat May in a footrace and the winger gave chase to score his second try in three minutes.
Australia tried to attack from anywhere. Kurtley Beale’s loose chip out of his own 22 almost gifted England a third try, but for a knock on by Slade.
Lealifano and Farrell exchanged penalties, but it was England who led 17-9 at half-time.
Australia came flying out the traps early in the second half to stun England as Marika Koroibete crossed over the line to score
Lealifano was very reliable with his kicking before being substituted early in the second half as he converted the try
Like they did in the first-half, Australia came out of the changing room with intent. Revved up by the words of Michael Cheika, who is now likely to leave his post.
Once again, Petaia was at the heart of things. The rookie ran at Anthony Watson, who held off to cover Hooper on the outside. But Marika Koroibete ran a steaming line on his inside shoulder, before skinning alive Daly, who looked creaky in defence, to score his side’s first try.
The next five minutes would define England’s World Cup.
Following the lead of Curry and Underhill, Jamie George was next to take over England’s breakdown duties.
May scored the opening try for England against Australia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday
May takes out his gumshield and celebrates with his team-mates having given his side the lead early on in the match
Farrell was told to lead from the front with warrior spirit and the No 10 made a charge at the Wallaby line with Billy Vunipola on his shoulder. All green and gold eyes turned to the No 8, but Farrell picked out Sinckler with a bullet flat-pass for the prop to score from 15 metres out.
Scenes of jubilation followed and this was to biggest 10 minutes of Sinckler’s career so far. Moments later, he won a penalty at the scrum. Then the Wallabies turned down a penalty to opt for a scrum and, lo behold, it was the lad from Battersea who ripped the ball from the clutches of Naisarani.
Play switched ends and Farrell edged England out of sight with another penalty. As the clock approached 70 minutes, Eddie Jones brought off George, Underhill and Mako Vunipola. There was still 10 minutes left to play, but England already knew their passage was secure.
Watson intercepted Beale to score late on, with Farrell adding the extras to send England marching on to the next round.
Owen Farrell converts May’s early try the try to give England the advantage over the Wallabies at the Oita Bank Dome
Christian Lealiifano scored three penalties in the first half of the match to keep Australia within touching distance
Owen Farrell scores a penalty as Australia’s flanker David Pocock (L) and Australia’s flanker Michael Hooper watch on