It was 16 years ago that Sir Clive Woodward earned his knighthood, Jonny Wilkinson drop-kicked his way into the Rugby Book of Legends and Martin Johnston hoisted the Webb Ellis Trophy high above his head..

Those are just some of the trappings and bonuses that went with winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

Back then, Eddie Jones was in the opposite camp, a moderately successful coach of Australia with a record of 33 wins in 57 matches.

By Saturday lunchtime, he could become the most popular Australian in England. It is only a matter of beating South Africa and lifting the World Cup for the 59-year-old Tasmanian to earn the everlasting affection of every English rugby fan. Sorry, Eddie, I don’t think we hand out knighthoods to Aussies very often.

Standing in his way are South Africa, who edged out Wales 19-16 thanks to a late penalty.

It settled one of those matches that had even the commentators wondering when something was going to happen and although both sides scored a single try, it all came down to a goal just before the end.

A match variously described as turgid and tedious inevitably rested on the accuracy of a kicker.

Penalties are a huge part of almost every rugby union match ever played – both semi-finals were decided on kicks, although this is no time for nit-picking.

Majestic England Crush All Blacks was one headline. The Day the Myth Was Smashed was another, so I bow to wiser voices who described this as England’s Greatest Win and that penalties are in the nature of the game.

Unfortunately, only regular followers have any idea why many of them are awarded in the first place.

So, Saturday’s Final in Tokyo may turn out to be a battle between the boots of George Ford or Owen Farrell and the Springboks’ Handre Pollard, but none of us will care less about how or why the final is won and lost.

After the 19-7 win over the All Blacks, Eddie Jones said: “We beat the gods of rugby.”

He also said that England can play even better next week.

That suggests we could be in for a World Cup final to remember. Bring it on.

*Nobody will ever be able to accuse former England defender Sol Campbell of looking for a cushy number in his choice of clubs to boost his fledgling career in management.

As if keeping Macclesfield in the Football League was not tough enough – he achieved that mini-miracle before leaving the Cheshire club in August – he has now landed himself with another salvage operation at Southend United. And it is one that looks even tougher than the Macc job.

Three days before he officially took over the Shrimpers, he watched them lose 7-1 at home to Doncaster. On Saturday, they were beaten at home again – this time 3-1 by Ipswich and they are already eight points away from League One safety. They have already leaked 43 goals – that is 14 more than any other team in the Football League.

Even so, the new boss was able to make some optimistic claims after this latest defeat, their 12th in 15 games.

“There were a lot of positives. They didn’t throw in the towel and that pleased me a lot. If we keep that attitude things will change and we will get the rub of the green, Campbell said.”

It may take more than the rub of the green to keep Southend up, but it is a fair assumption that they have got the right man in charge to make it happen.

*With the Rugby World Cup in Japan grabbing all the headlines, Great Britain’s rugby league players might be glad that the opening match of their tour passed under the radar outside the game’s heartlands.

They were beaten 14-6 by Tonga in Hamilton, New Zealand, ahead of two more Tests against the Kiwis before moving on to play Papua New Guinea.

Losing to Tonga was a unique experience but it was hardly a major shock. With skipper James Graham – one of the best props of his generation - playing at loose forward (he wouldn’t rate in the top 20) and Zak Hardaker, a full back playing in the centre, it was hardly a team chosen by Wayne Bennett to inspire confidence in the future.

St. Helens’ Jonny Lomax, regarded by some of his fellow professionals as the best in Super League, was only among the substitutes.

Bennett has an excellent pedigree but as he spends most of his time at home in Australia, he is clearly doing the job via satellite and is out of touch with the game over here. It is to be hoped that somebody puts him wise before Saturday’s game against New Zealand.