When Australia last won at Twickenham, the result triggered an upheaval which had a direct bearing on Ireland’s historic victory over New Zealand last week.
What the Wallabies achieved in London three years ago eliminated England from their own World Cup at the pool stage and brought an anti-climactic end to Stuart Lancaster’s reign.
Barely one month after the head coach’s resignation and Eddie Jones’ appointment as his successor, Andy Farrell discovered he had no future under the new regime, as did fellow coaches Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree.
He wasn’t out of work for long.
In January 2016, Joe Schmidt welcomed Farrell with open arms as Ireland’s new defence coach, the role he had undertaken for the Lions in their winning series in Australia and would undertake again during the drawn rubber in New Zealand last year.
Not satisfied with a second Grand Slam in 70 years, Ireland have now made a mighty declaration of intent, the historic nature of last week’s home win over the All Blacks representing a formidable step towards extending their domination of Europe on a global scale.
The World Cup-holders arrived in London at the start of the month having swept all before them all year, starting with a three-match home series against France.
That produced a grand total of 19 tries, with 17 more from three wins over Australia, plus eleven from two against South Africa, ten from two against Argentina, and ten from one in Japan.
In other words, they had been averaging a fraction more than six tries per match.
England restricted them to one before Ireland went one better and shut them out.
In what has been duly acclaimed as a truly epic contest, the Six Nations champions generated an 80-minute intensity and technical precision that ultimately proved beyond the best team in the world.
Rarely, in a match of the highest calibre, can one team have made as few mistakes as Ireland last Saturday night.
As a captivating duel moved into its final quarter, they had conceded just three penalties and three scrums – two for knock-ons, the other for a forward pass.
By then, the All Blacks, hounded over every square inch of the Aviva Stadium, had conceded three times as many penalties, the majority before half-time.
Jacob Stockdale’s try, executed perfectly after Johnny Sexton and Bundee Aki had conspired to outwit their opponents, allowed the Ulster wing to achieve the rare double of tries against New Zealand and South Africa at the first attempt.
It made all the difference, ensuring Farrell the worthy reward of an unprecedented double.
England’s former dual-code international had come up with a strategy to defuse the most productive try-scoring machine in the game – for the second time within 18 months.
He did it first in Wellington last year when the Lions eventually took full advantage to square the series by scoring the only tries, admittedly with a little help from Sonny Bill Williams’ red card before half-time.
Throw in the Irish extravaganza in Chicago two years ago and England’s runaway 38-21 win at Twickenham in 2012, and Farrell has played a critical role in four wins over New Zealand.
When Paul Gustard left England’s coaching team last summer to take charge of Harlequins, the RFU reportedly made an attempt to re-sign Farrell.
“I know they tried to get him back,” said New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen in the wake of his team’s 9-16 setback in Dublin.
“Obviously, they recognise something we all recognise. He is good at what he does.
“He’s good at organising his team and filling up the space on the park. He does that really well.’’
Ireland, with Kieran Marmion out of action until the New Year following ankle surgery, bring the curtain down on their momentous autumn against the USA Eagles at the Aviva Stadium.
Meanwhile, back at Twickenham, England will expect to extend their winning run against the Wallabies post-World Cup at the expense of opponents ranked two places below them at sixth. Under Eddie Jones, England have gone some way towards redressing the balance, winning five on the spin, including a clean sweep in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney last year.
How they lined-up when the Wallabies’ last won at Twickenham in the last round of the World Cup pool stage, October 3, 2015:
England 13 Australia 33 England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, B Barritt (S Burgess 65), J May (G Ford 41); O Farrell, B Youngs (R Wigglesworth 50); J Marler, T Youngs (R Webber 61), D Cole (K Brookes 55); J Launchbury (G Kruis 70), G Parling; T Wood, C Robshaw (C), B Morgan (N Easter 58). Try: Watson Conversion: Farrell Penalties: Farrell (2)
Australia: I Folau (M Toomua 66); A Ashley-Cooper, R Kuridrani, M Giteau, R Horne (K Beale 10); B Foley, W Genia; S Sio (J Slipper 58), S Moore (Polota-Nau 65), S Kepu; K Douglas, R Simmons (D Mumm 66); S Fardy (B McCalman 76), M Hooper, D Pocock. Tries: Foley (2), Giteau Conversions: Foley (3) Penalties: Foley (4)
Scotland, down one to seventh in the World Rugby rankings after their narrow home defeat by the Springboks last week, moved Finn Russell to inside centre and recall Adam Hastings at fly-half against Argentina at BT Murrayfield.
After three consecutive starts in the previous weeks, Ryan Wilson, Willem Nell and Tommy Seymour are to be found on the bench.
While the All Blacks lick their wounds ahead of their concluding match of the year, against Italy in Rome, Wales will have the final and probably decisive say in the inter-hemisphere duel on behalf of the Six Nations.
Watched by an average of almost 63,000 over the first three weeks of the month, they are one more win away from their first autumn clean sweep.
The thrilling brand of rugby produced by their second-string against Tonga last week has put the country in bullish mood for the biggest Test of their year.
The Springboks, buoyed by wins in Paris and Edinburgh after their controversial single-point setback at Twickenham, need no reminding of what awaits them at Cardiff, where they lost just once in the 20th century.
Since the advent of the 21st century, they have been beaten there three times on the bounce.
Going into the final round in the battle between the Hemispheres, the North, as represented by the Six Nations, lead the South, as represented by The Rugby Championship, 5-4. Victories for the Six Nations: England 12 South Africa 11 Wales 9 Australia 6 Ireland 28 Argentina 17 Ireland 16 New Zealand 9 France 28 Argentina 17 And the defeats: England 15 New Zealand 16 France 26 South Africa 29 Italy 7 Australia 26 Scotland 20 South Africa 26 To be played this Saturday: Italy v New Zealand, Rome. 2pm Scotland v Argentina, Murrayfield. 2.30pm England v Australia, Twickenham. 3pm Wales v South Africa, Cardiff. 5.20pm