England surprised many by reaching the last four of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and were just a couple of minutes from making the final.
A late surge from South Africa denied Steve Borthwick's men - who finished fourth in the 2023 Six Nations - what would have been a huge upset, with the Springboks eventually running out 16-15 victors in Paris.
England, though, will leave the tournament with heads held high and certainly more optimistic about the future, as they start the preparations for the next World Cup.
The 2027 event will be held in Australia – where England lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy back in 2003 – and the squad is likely to look quite a bit different to the party that travelled to France.
Here's our take on how the England XV could look in four years' time.
The experienced Joe Marler was recalled to the starting XV for the semi-final clash against South Africa but, at the age of 33, it looks highly unlikely he will be involved in Australia.
Ellis Genge, the current vice-captain, had played at loose head prop against Fiji in a pre-World Cup warm up and the 28-year-old looks likely to hold that role over the coming years.
The Bristol Bears ace has already made 55 appearances for his country and looks to be a potential skipper of the future.
Jamie George started at number 2 against the Springboks, but he is another player unlikely to be around in four years' time.
The 33-year-old has had a stellar career at both domestic and international level and England will miss him when he eventually hangs up his boots.
George though can play a key role in helping his likely successor, Theo Dan, step up to the plate with the duo team-mates at Saracens – who are 10/1 to win the European Rugby Champions Cup 2023/24.
With over 100 caps for his country, Dan Cole is coming towards the end of his international career, as the Leicester Tigers man turns 37 in May.
Sale Sharks' Bevan Rodd is just 23 and looks to be the prime candidate to replace Cole, while the slightly older Will Stuart (27) is another possibility.
Two-time British & Irish Lion Maro Itoje has been a key player for England since making his debut in 2016 and, fitness permitting, he should be part of the squad in Australia.
Itoje will be 32 in 2027 and could be another candidate to be England skipper for their bid to win a second World Cup title.
Two members of the current squad are likely to be battling out for the number five jersey in Australia – George Martin and Ollie Chessum.
The 22-year-old Martin started the semi-final against South Africa, while the 23-year-old Chessum was part of the XV that beat Fiji in the quarter-finals.
With Courtney Lawes confirming his retirement at the end of the tournament, there is a space to fill at number six for the 2024 Six Nations – which England are 5/1 to win.
The most likely replacement is Tom Curry, with the Sale Sharks ace having become a squad regular since being called up by Eddie Jones in the summer of 2017.
The 25-year-old Curry, whose brother Ben is also a full international, is the youngest player to start at flanker for England.
Curry played on the open-side in the defeat to the Springboks, but Jack Willis could be the man to earn the number seven if Curry plays at six.
The Toulouse man, who is currently 26 years of age, scored a try on his England debut in a 40-0 win over Georgia back in 2020.
This looks pretty straight forward, with Ben Earl cementing his place in the starting VX as the first-choice number 8.
The 25-year-old helped Saracens, 7/4 to win the 2023/24 Grand Final, win the Premiership title in 2023 and looks likely to be a key player for England over the next few years.
Despite having the experience of Danny Care and Ben Youngs in his squad, Borthwick plumped for Alex Mitchell in the knockout stage matches.
The Northampton Saints scrum half looks to have that position to himself at the moment, although he is likely to face competition from Leicester Tigers number nine, Jack van Poortvliet.
This looks set to be Owen Farrell's last World Cup as a player, which leaves England also looking for a long-term captain to replace him.
The fly-half position looks likely to be handed to Marcus Smith, with the 24-year-old already making a big impact on the international stage.
Smith has scored over 180 points in 23 appearances for England and is likely to be one of the players the coach builds his team around.
In four years' time, Elliot Daly will be 35 and Jonny May 37 and it looks unlikely that they will still be part of the England party.
Despite missing out on the World Cup squad, Northampton Saints' Tommy Freeman and Newcastle's Adam Radwan have featured in the last two years and will hope they get the chance to shine, with Freeman ahead on the list of candidates.
Manu Tuilagi has been another integral member of the England squad for the last decade, but is unlikely to be on the plane to Australia in 2027.
Borthwick does look to have a long-term replacement in place though, with Ollie Lawrence having already made 15 appearances for his country at the age of 24.
It might be unlucky for some, but Joe Marchant looks to have made the number 13 his own having established himself as England's first choice outside centre.
The Stade Francais man will be 31 when the next World Cup comes around and many feel that is the time when rugby players reach their peak.
One of England's brightest young stars is winger Henry Arundell, who equalled the World Cup record with five tries in the win over Chile.
Sir Clive Woodward described his omission from the quarter-final squad as ‘absolute madness' and the 20-year-old will surely play a key role in England's future for many years to come.
Having started Marcus Smith at 15 against Fiji, Borthwick then turned to Freddie Steward in the semi-final with South Africa.
The 22-year-old, who was named England men's player of the season for 2022, is another name to pencil in for the Six Nations and beyond.