England crashed to a 20-14 defeat to Australia they may still be regretting in three years' time.
The Wallabies bounced back from a 33-6 thumping in France last week to dominate an England side whose chances of being a top seed at their home World Cup in 2015 now look remote.
England clawed a half-time lead with a contentious try from Manu Tuilagi after Nick Cummins had scored his first international try for the Wallabies, but Australia turned the screw after the interval with Berrick Barnes kicking a total of 15 points.
Toby Flood also kicked three penalties for England but it was not until the hosts emptied their bench that they posed any consistent threat.
England will rue their bold decisions to kick second-half penalties to touch instead of taking points because the Wallabies defence held firm.
And the more panicky England became, the more mistakes they made and Australia saw out the victory to reclaim the Cook Cup.
England's kit was officially described as "regal purple", in order to reflect their place among the "rugby royalty".
But with South Africa and New Zealand due at Twickenham over the next fortnight, England face an uphill battle to join the elite in the top band of World Cup seeds when the draw is made on December 3.
That would leave England with the prospect of facing one of the southern hemisphere giants in the pool stages.