LONDON (REUTERS) - Hosts England were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup at the pool stage for the first time on Saturday after suffering a humiliating 33-13 defeat to Australia, who booked their place in the quarter-finals with a clinical demolition job.
The result also ensured that Wales, victors over England last weekend, were guaranteed to emerge from Pool A into the last eight at the expense of their old rivals, who were under the cosh from the first whistle in front of a pumped-up home crowd at Twickenham.
Flyhalf Bernard Foley was the chief executioner, scoring two tries as they took a 17-3 lead into the break and then slotting over a penalty soon after the restart to leave England facing a mountain to climb.
Stuart Lancaster's side did reduce the deficit when Anthony Watson bulldozed over the line with 25 minutes to play and a penalty from Owen Farrell had the crowd on their feet, but Australia ultimately proved too canny.
They stretched their advantage with a further two Foley penalties before Matt Giteau sealed victory when he raced clear to score in the corner and Foley added the extra points.
The battle for top spot is all that remains to be decided in the pool, with Australia facing Wales at Twickenham next Saturday, while England face an anti-climactic trip to Manchester to play minnows Uruguay.
Both Australia and Wales are tied on 13 points, while England trail in third with six.