There is history, both ancient in the form of one World Cup Final win against the other apiece and recent in the shape of England’s six straight wins since crashing out of their home World Cup in 2015 against… Australia.
It is 12 years since England won a World Cup knockout match, while Australia – in Eddie Jones’s words – are “a great tournament side”.
There is support. This game may be taking place in Oita, a sleepy spot in Japan’s south, but an invasion began on Friday. These are officially the two visiting teams supported in the heaviest numbers, according to World Rugby. There are no hotels available for miles.
There are the cast members, from Ben Youngs and Will Genia, rival scrum-halves for a decade, to the young pretenders Sam Underhill and Tom Curry taking on their heroes David Pocock and Michael Hooper at the breakdown.
So central to it all are the two coaches, Jones and Michael Cheika, who have history as long as England and Australia at the World Cup. They were team-mates – Jones at hooker, Cheika at No8 – at the famed Randwick club in Sydney’s east.
Both had parents born outside Australia [Jones’s mother was born to Japanese parents in the USA, Cheika’s father was from the Lebanon], which forged a bond despite a seven-year age difference.
Randwick in those days was in an Aussie rugby hothouse, with Ewan McKenzie, Simon Poidevin and David Campese around, too.
As coaches, Jones and Cheika have become rivals and sparring partners, playful headline-generators, although the England coach has certainly had the best of things.
James Haskell, who has played under both men, said this week: “Eddie loves revving Cheika up, and Cheika loves getting revved up.”
The niggly back and forth, though, has largely been absent in the build-up to this match. Perhaps they are just tired of it all but the pair have been looking to kill each other with kindness.
There was one slightly spiky Cheika appearance on Monday, where he described Jones inviting Aussie rugby league guru Ricky Stuart into the England camp as “weird” and said he was “not looking to make a movie or write a book” this weekend.
Jones is writing a book, and his victory – as Japan coach – over South Africa in 2015 was made into a film.
A little dig from Cheika, who has cut an irritable figure all tournament, but nothing since. Jones said on Thursday he was “proud” of his mate and that the detente might have a bit to do with the pair’s recent loss, of Jeff Sayle, a mentor at Randwick.