Notoriously a very early riser, England’s head coach Eddie Jones slept like a baby last night. He hadn’t the day before, on the eve of the most important game of his England career.
Losing against Australia would almost certainly have meant his time at Twickenham was up; a defeat in the World Cup quarter finals with the unrivalled resources at his disposal over the past four years, would simply not have been good enough.
Now though, after reaching the last four - barring humiliation against the All Blacks - he can stay for a good while yet, certainly beyond the end of his current contract. That’s how pivotal yesterday was for the man brought in to rebuild England from the wreckage of the 2015 tournament.
Before he retired to his room last night, he held a meeting with his coaches which consisted of a match debrief and then a basic outline of plans for the week ahead. There was little time for celebration; Jones is not a man to stand still.
When we spoke this morning, one of the first things I asked was whether he’d seen England’s semi-final opponents, the All Blacks, take Ireland apart?
"I’ve seen enough," he said. Not really giving away exactly what he meant.
But had he spotted any weaknesses that could be exploited? His view on that is that every team, every individual, however good has a weakness.
He used a cricket analogy to back his assertion, pointing out there’s never been a batsmen who’s averaged one hundred in test cricket. Over an entire career he is of course correct but how about this summer’s Ashes series in England? His fellow Aussie, Steve Smith, averaged 110 and on current form New Zealand are rugby’s equivalent of the world’s best batsmen.
They looked imperious yesterday; strong, quick, fit and devastating with ball in hand. But it’s difficult to tell whether that was down to their brilliance or Ireland’s mediocrity – next Saturday will answer that question.
Jones was very on message today, there was no mischief he just repeatedly lauded the All Blacks as the best team in the world and repeatedly stated how much England were looking forward to playing them because they aspire to take over their seat at the top table.
Maybe he’s hoping, by praising them so profusely and so publicly, subconsciously a little bit of complacency might creep in.
Unlikely but it’s worth a go.
It would certainly help; the All Blacks have won 90 per cent of their matches since the last tournament in 2015. England’s last victory against them was seven years ago and the last English team to beat them away from Twickenham was the World Cup squad of 2003.
Now there’s a thought.