For Mark Cueto, memories still shine bright for a man who was doing all he could to make the squad before the tournament, but ultimately missed out.
"I made my debut for Sale in 2001 and I was really pushing for a spot, I was top try scorer at the end of the season, you can't really do much more than that as a winger, but I was still miles off the England setup."
Despite being overlooked at the time, Cueto isn't bitter about being left out of the squad, knowing full well the quality that was at the disposal of the national team at this time, including his club colleague Jason Robinson.
"The squad had established players in my position which made it difficult to break through. The likes of Ben Cohen, Robinson, Josh Lewsey and Iain Balshaw just made it impossible to get a look in.
"I understood it because they were great players, but also the team were in great form. They won 18 games in a row up to and including the World Cup final.
"It was still great to watch though. I had only just broken into the Premiership so you can't really expect to get any recognition at that level, but it was great to watch them and then get the chance to recreate what they did."
There is no reason for bitterness of course, considering that the Premiership's all time leading try scorer went on to have a successful spell at international level, clocking up over half a century of caps in his time with England.
Despite some turbulent times playing for England, one memory that will stick out for Cueto will still be the agonising World Cup final defeat in 2007. The 33-year-old was desperately close to scoring a try, but England eventually lost out to a superior South Africa.
In a campaign which flirted with disaster, Brian Ashton's charges came through some poor early performances to beat Australia and France on their way to the final, but were to yet again to suffer from a lack of form after the tournament.
"There hasn't been a team that has won back to back World Cups yet, so to get to the final in 2007 and come so close was a great achievement considering the turmoil that we were in.
"The team definitely struggled after the World Cup, which is disappointing because we never really kicked on."
For Cueto though, there are signs that England are capable of finally finding the magic touch which took them to glory a decade ago, as Stuart Lancaster has guided his side to a few notable scalps in his time in charge.
"If they can go into the World Cup with a settled squad who have all got around 20 caps there's no reason they won't do really well. "
How do you reflect on a career at Sale which has seen about as many ups as it has downs?
It's been unbelievable really. From the first seven or eight years where myself and the club was riding a wave, not really having any bad times, never injured, always in the top half, winning the premiership, winning European cups, to then in the last maybe three or four years where it's been complete opposite ends to the spectrum to a degree.
We've had probably one year in that three or four where we managed to get a level and finish 6th and qualify for the Heineken cup and it was a successful year but the other two or three have just been carnage.
Last year was probably the lowest point we've ever had at Sale. I think we were seven or eight points adrift at the bottom of the league, having not won a premiership game, worrying about jobs, careers and livelihoods, that's as low as it can get really. There have been some unbelievable highs and lows.
What do you make of the new crop of players being brought into the squad?
Yes, definitely. We've always managed to produce good, young, local players here, from the days when the likes of myself and Charlie Hodgson, Chris Jones, Andy Titterrell. Now you've got the likes of Will Addison, Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor who are good young players that we need to keep hold of.
The game is different now to what it was like ten years ago when I was starting. There was never as much movement in terms of players moving from club to club, whereas now it's getting a lot more like football in that department.
There isn't as much loyalty, which is fair enough, it is a business and the lads have got to look after themselves and they've got to be selfish to a degree, but at the same time it would be good to see them at the club and I know they are trying to tie these lads down to long-term deals. Mike Hayley is another player who could be successful for us in the future.
Do you have any plans for after your retirement? Maybe coaching or media work?
Ideally I would like to be involved in broadcasting, whether that is TV, radio or anything else. I've never fancied coaching but you never know. I've been doing a bit of media work recently and it's going really well, so I'll just keeping pushing away at that and hopefully something will come up.
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