Chris Robshaw urged England to build on the momentum established by their 20-13 victory over Australia at Twickenham by adding to their growing collection of scalps.
The 2015 World Cup group rivals produced a dismal spectacle for the opening QBE International, but the result was all that mattered to head coach Stuart Lancaster.
The autumn series continues against Argentina on Saturday before concluding against a New Zealand team who are hell-bent on revenge after crashing to a record defeat last November.
Some notable victims feature among England’s sequence of eight wins in nine matches – France, the All Blacks and now the Wallabies – and Robshaw hopes their impressive run continues.
“We’ve come a long way in 12 months. This was time for us to kick on and start getting scalps like Australia’s,” the captain said.
“A lot of us in this group had never beaten Australia before, myself included. It’s a great memento for us. First and foremost this was about getting the win. There was a bit of rustiness there but that performance stands us in good stead for Argentina.
“Many of us had played in big Heineken Cup games recently, but we wanted to step up a gear because that’s what Test rugby is – it’s about that intensity.”
Character and an appetite for hard work underpinned England’s first victory against Australia in two attempts under Lancaster after the Wallabies had triumphed 20-14 last autumn.
Maiden Test tries from Robshaw and Owen Farrell, who also kicked ten points, overturned the 13-6 half-time deficit, although both scores were laced with controversy. Outstanding full-back Mike Brown had both feet in touch before launching the counter-attack that preceded Robshaw’s quick-witted touchdown, and Farrell clearly benefited from an obstruction by Dylan Hartley on Stephen Moore.
Australia, who have now lost eight of their 11 matches this year, were comprehensively outfought in the final half-hour and the way England ground out victory was admirable.
But they were alarmingly poor at times, particularly in midfield where the partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins failed to gel amid an incoherent three-quarter line.
In Tokyo, New Zealand warmed up for their tour of Europe with a 54-6 win over Japan, ahead of the hosts’ visit to Murrayfield on Saturday.