Last week’s surprise win against Ireland was more than that. It now looks like a first step to the Six Nations Championship for England who confirmed their intentions and class against France on Sunday and gave a very clear warning that they have the World Cup in their sights.
They won the match 44-8 after scoring a try in the first 70 seconds, and in all scored six tries, including a penalty try, on their way to victory.
And Jonny May simply continued and he took his tally to 12 tries in his last 12 Tests with a hat-trick of tries picked up before the half-hour mark. Good work, but then the tactic to kick onto right wing Damian Penaud's corner worked wonders for England.
It was an unexpectedly motivated and polished England side that came out to first beat Ireland and a week later demolish France.
It was the biggest victory by any side against France in 108 years, and with this defeat came another reminder that France have simply failed to escape the downward spiral in their quality that has been on-going for a number of years.
It begs the question: was England, good as they were, even close to some of the over-the-top accolades that came their way, or was France just simply poor?
When last did any side fear France?
Perhaps the heart of the problem is the self-righteousness and selfish attitude of their club owners who not only run the clubs but in effect also do so with the FFR.
In their hunger for club glory the vast sums paid to get the best players have obscured French rugby’s weaknesses. It has stunted the development of young French players who have to stand back for the overly paid retirees from especially South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia with a few Fijians thrown in who chase individual glory for their paymasters.
Where are their Serge Blanco’s, Walter Spanghero’s, players of the quality of a Benoit Dauga and the tigerish never-say-die flank Jean-Pierre Rives? And Philipe Sella and Joe Maso? What has happened to the feared and appreciated French flair that made them a draw-card the world over? Where are the exhilarating victories against all odds?
And while Eddie Jones, who has come off a horrendous 2018 filled with many failures and the threat of losing his job, has suddenly resurfaced as a coach who has the personnel and obviously also the quality as coach to take them all the way.
Let’s give plenty of credit to Jones, England and their execution. But let there also be a thought for the downturn in the quality of rugby