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Sport gives and it takes away. Four years ago, fans in England woke up with a hollow feeling. It was World Cup final day at Twickenham but England's participation had effectively ended a month before, when they lost to Australia in their third pool game.

It was all pretty depressing. English rugby was not in a good place and the excellence of New Zealand as they put away Australia in that final only rubbed salt into the wounds.

Saturday, in contrast, an excited sporting nation holds its breath. Wherever you are watching, this is the other side of sport: the days you dream about.

English rugby has come a long way under Eddie Jones over the last four years

English rugby has come a long way under Eddie Jones over the last four years 

If Japan hadn't beaten South Africa in 2015 perhaps Jones might not have got the job

If Japan hadn't beaten South Africa in 2015 perhaps Jones might not have got the job

It's been a long journey and one man — Eddie Jones — has been at the heart of it throughout.

His appointment, which now looks inspired, was haphazard. Eddie admits that if Japan hadn't scored that last-minute try to record an eye-popping win over South Africa in Brighton in 2015, he probably wouldn't have even been in the frame.

If the Stormers in Cape Town had held him to the contract he had just signed, he wouldn't have been available either. Qualified candidates were thin on the ground but his appointment was the turning point for England. By whatever process, he was the right man, right job, right time.

It can't have been easy early on and the many pictures of England's 2003 success — a reminder of what Eddie describes as the worst day of his life, as the losing coach of Australia — that hang around the Pennyhill Park hotel and the training complex won't have lessened the pressure. But pressure can be good, especially for competitive individuals such as Eddie.

The first year under Jones was sensational and England whitewashed Australia on tour

The first year under Jones was sensational and England whitewashed Australia on tour

He quickly made his mark and his upbeat, combative personality struck the right chord when England and their supporters were feeling a bit sorry for themselves.

On the day he was appointed, I remember Eddie saying loudly and with conviction that England would always play the English way. England would not be copying the All Blacks or Australia, they would not be handling like the French or the Fijians. They would play to their strengths.

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