Six months after Eddie Jones raised concerns about England's mental frailty by talking about grenades going off in the back of a Jeep, Billy Vunipola revealed that they have been liberated by a series of controlled explosions.
The national team's Six Nations campaign ended in alarming fashion as a 31-0 lead was spectacularly squandered against Scotland at Twickenham.
England fell apart to trail 38-31, before a face-saving try by George Ford earned them a draw which did little to paper over the cracks.
Billy Vunipola insists England are in a much better place after working on their psychology
Jones recognised that — not for the first time — his side had unravelled under pressure. He sensed that there was mental baggage, that when the heat was on his players they locked up, failed to communicate effectively and reverted to established cliques.
The head coach realised that this lack of unity and clarity when the stakes were raised could shatter their World Cup ambitions.
'It's like we have some grenades in the back of a Jeep and sometimes they go off when there's a lot of pressure,' he said at the time. 'We've got to get rid of them. It's 100 per cent mental. It's going to take some digging deep into the team psyche.'
England suffered a second-half collapse against Scotland in a Six Nations clash six months ago
His response was to recruit psychologists for the summer training camps — first Corinne Reid and later Dr Andrea Furst.
Vunipola opened up about the honesty sessions that the squad had gone through, which were uncomfortable but vital as a means of banishing some demons.
Asked if England had taken steps to address the issues raised by Jones in the aftermath of that draw against Scotland, the Saracens No 8 said: 'Yep, he has definitely got the baggage out. It was very important to us and has probably freed us up a lot in terms of our relationships.
'Obviously there were a few bumps in the road but I think we have better tools to deal with it than before.
'It's about just listening to each other, caring about another person's opinion and taking it on board, rather than going back to your room and having a little moan to your mate. Everything that we feel or think, just put it out to the group.'
Head coach Eddie Jones has worked hard to build stronger team spirit and camaraderie
Jones has been at pains to foster a greater spirit and camaraderie among his players in the