England are 7/2 to win the 2019 World Cup despite seeing a place in history denied by Ireland's Grand Slam ambush in Dublin.
A 13-9 defeat at the Aviva Stadium brought the Six Nations to a fittingly captivating climax and left the champions stranded alongside New Zealand as they sought to surpass the 18-Test record run set by the All Blacks last year.
It was the first defeat of Eddie Jones' reign and the head coach views it as an important learning experience as he plots England's route to global glory in two years’ time.
“We are 14 months into a four-year project. We have been chuffed with the results we have had, but realism tells us we have still got a lot to do,” Jones said.
“We were caught in certain areas by Ireland and full credit goes to them. We will learn from it.
“We are going to have more setbacks as we go to the World Cup. How many teams have a 90 per cent winning record at Test level?
“There are not too many, the All Blacks are the only ones and we have been doing that since the last World Cup.”
“We are batting at a pretty good average - even Don Bradman got zero when he played his last Test. Obviously we are disappointed - but we will fight another day. It is not the end of the world.
“That match was a like a World Cup final and we weren't good enough. We're better off having that experience now than we are in Yokohama Stadium on November 2 at 8pm in 2019.”
New Zealand are the 6/5 favourites to win the next World Cup, while England’s Six Nations rivals are all relatively long odds after predominantly disappointing campaigns. Ireland are 16/1, Wales are 20/1 and France are available 22/1, with Scotland even longer odds at 40.1