England players made a low-key return from their World Cup campaign in Japan.
The 31-strong squad arrived at Heathrow 18 minutes ahead of schedule on flight BA008 from Tokyo, two days after their 32-12 defeat by South Africa in the final in Yokohama.
There was no media access at the terminal and, although a few cheers rang out from waiting fans, there was no reaction from the players as they made their way into the arrivals hall.
Coach Eddie Jones, whose future is up in the air, gave little away as he walked expressionless through the barriers.
It was a far cry from 2003, when Clive Woodward’s triumphant England team brought London to a standstill as they paraded the Webb Ellis trophy on two open-top buses past an estimated 750,000 crowd in the centre of the capital.
Plans for a similar victory parade were scrapped when Jones’ men lost to the Springboks in Saturday’s final.
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