The scars of training ... Tom Palmer with headgear and bandage at camp England. Photo: Getty Images
England players were still feeling the bruises on Thursday two days after the most brutal training session of Stuart Lancaster's tenure, which was designed to ensure that the squad meet head-on the expected Australia backlash at Twickenham tomorrow.
Lancaster described the Tuesday training session as "the best that I have seen", while the players spoke with enthusiasm of the intensity of the collisions, one of which left lock Tom Palmer requiring stitches to a cut near his eye.
"It was up there in intensity in any of the sessions that I have seen," -Lancaster said. "I don't think we will be lacking for that. We had 30-odd players training - including some very good players who aren't in the squad - and we had 15 on 15 and it was very, very competitive."
Prop Joe Marler said the session had been split between unit work during the morning, with the forwards focusing on scrummaging and mauling, before the whole quad came together for 90 minutes of defensive training in the afternoon, finishing off with a short match session.
"It was probably the most physical session I have had with this group," said Marler, who will win his fifth cap tomorrow, and his first against Australia. "Let's just say I was pleased we had a day off today.
"We got these new suits to prevent injuries but they actually mean you can probably go a little bit harder. Tuesdays are always big sessions but everyone had that sort of feeling that it was good at the weekend against Fiji but there wasn't as much satisfaction from it.
"We know that Australia are going to pick up their game [after their heavy defeat by France] - England v Australia has always been a big -fixture.
"Sometimes Stuart comes in and speaks during the session but we didn't hear a lot from him because we were just cracking on with it and he was pleased with it."
Tom Johnson, the Exeter flanker, said he was "still a bit sore" from the session but added that it had given the squad confidence that they were ready to face the greater attacking threat of Australia.
"I think the boys were a little bit disappointed that we let in two tries against Fiji," said Johnson, who saw off the challenge of Tom Wood to retain his place on the blindside flank.
"With Australia coming to town, it [training] just got ramped up a little bit. I think it was just setting the mind and body prepared for what is going to be a huge, huge clash. The coaches dangled the carrot and said, 'We need to be better', and then the players and the leadership group took it on themselves and it was flat out from the off - everyone was switched on.
"Quite often in defence sessions, you get the attack running through at 70 per cent, but the boys were really going after each other, which was really good."
Wood was another who relished the physicality of the session. "I do enjoy those kind of sessions. It felt almost like a game," he said. "Tom Palmer unfortunately got a split eye and there were people bleeding and limping around and taking bangs, but nobody was complaining it was too brutal.
"It was what we need going into these games. There is no point keeping everyone fresh and pampering everybody and then going into the game and then getting beaten up.
"We just need to make sure that when we beat the life out of each other on a Tuesday we take it into the game on a Saturday and make sure Australia feel it as well."
The Telegraph, London