Jamie George made history as he led a fierce English backlash against Georgia in the Twickenham rain.
In 149 years of international rugby no England hooker had bagged a hat-trick of tries.
George took less than an hour to put that right, scoring three times as Eddie Jones’ men made Georgia pay for starting a brawl with them in a specially arranged scrummage session last year.
“We wanted to take them on,” the Saracens star admitted. “There have been a couple of previous encounters on the training field and this was round three. We were very pumped up.
“If you were in the front row that day you remember. It was certainly there in the back of my mind.”
This was payback, plain and simple and Jones made no attempt to disguise the fact.
“All the guys remember the session in Oxford,” he said. “Even the backs got involved that day, they ran in from about 40 metres away to have a go.
“We wanted to make a point that we won’t be stood over and we did that.”
England’s six-try victory put them top of Nations Cup group A, a point ahead of Ireland, whom they play at home on Saturday.
The result was never in doubt from the moment Jack Willis capped his effervescent debut with the opening try on 16 minutes.
It quickly became clear that England’s focus was as much on administering a lesson in respect as winning the game.
Time and again Owen Farrell’s team opted for the set-piece and the chance to get stuck into their minnow opponents.
“We wanted to take on Georgia at their strength,” Jones confirmed. “We wanted to get our set-piece going and make a point of them not out-scrumming us.”
The softening up process paid dividends after 30 minutes as George found Charlie Ewels at the lineout, then received the ball back and was driven over the try line.
England enjoyed that so much they repeated it four minutes later. Ewels again made the catch and Willis, Joe Launchbury and Billy Vunipola drove George over.
They would call it a third time on the hour, same personnel, same outcome to put George into the record books.
But not before Jonathan Joseph provided the standout moment of the match, gliding off his wing and into midfield to stretch the Georgian defence, before releasing Elliot Daly for the score.
Sadly, for the game as a spectacle, Joseph suffered a back spasm and was forced off the field, taking all creativity with him.
Filthy weather and an empty stadium were mitigating factors for the sort of contest Amazon will not have welcomed in their first foray into rugby broadcasting.
Even George seemed reluctant to celebrate his achievement a fortnight on from winning his 50th cap.
“I don’t know how to put it into words really,” he said. “It is quite embarrassing. I just happened to be on the end of maul tries.
“I am getting a bit of stick but I am happy we did what we did. We tried to set the tone and intensity of the game and I think we did that.”
Dan Robson came off the bench to score the final try from a tapped penalty but Jones’ thoughts had already turned to Ireland.
“That is going to be the most important game of the year,” he said. “Ireland will be cock-a-hoop after their win big win against Wales. They’ll come here with plenty of confidence and swagger.”
ENGLAND – Tries: Willis, George 3, Daly, Robson. Cons: Farrell 5.