England (21) 60
Tries: Watson 2, Easter 3, Slade, Nowell 3, Penalty try; Conversions: Farrell 4, Ford
Uruguay (3) 3
England finished their Rugby World Cup campaign riddled in anticlimax following a comfortable victory over Uruguay in what could be head coach Stuart Lancaster's final game in charge after his side's earlier pool stage exit. Nick Easter and Jack Nowell both scored hat-tricks as the hosts ran-in ten tries to cruise to their second tournament win, though victory is unlikely to enhance Lancaster's career prospects.
Anthony Watson scored twice and Exeter's Henry Slade went over as England belatedly produced a performance with some freedom but the memory of their defeats to Wales and Australia, which means they miss out on the quarter-finals, will work to define their campaign. As the tournament hosts were involved in a dead rubber amid an admirably euphoric atmosphere at the Manchester City Stadium, Australia and Wales played out a 15-6 thriller at Twickenham in another example of the deficit between them and the world's elite nations.
The bonus point victory only worked to emphasise the blunder made in the dying embers of the 26-23 loss to Wales, where captain Chris Robshaw opted to kick to the corner instead of for goal to secure a draw which would have secured his side passage to the knock-out phase. The reality is however that a meeting with twice World Champions South Africa would have been a step too far for a side short of the quality required.
A meeting with Uruguay, the team with the worst record in this year's Rugby World Cup having shipped 166 points and scored just one try, would act as an apt climax to England's campaign which will go down as the most infamous in their rugby history. Despite the game having no baring on the knock-out phase it was naturally played against the backdrop of uncertainty over the future of Lancaster, whose role will be heavily scrutinised in the coming days and weeks after the hosts' first ever pool stage exit, regardless of the result against their lowly South American counterparts.
Furthermore, the north's status as an afterthought in the minds of the Rugby Football Union would be accentuated by the circumstances surrounding England's first home game away from Twickenham in six years - given the inconsequential nature of the contest. Uruguay had just two wins in the competition's history to speak of and with a third place finish out of reach, matching the try they scored in defeat to Fiji, their first in 12 years of the competition, would surely be extent of their ambitions.
An early offside against England led to Felipe Berchesi kicking Uruguay ahead from an early penalty to temper the mood among an already subdued crowd, but they soon had something to shout about as the home side raced through to grab their opening try. Slade, one of four players making their tournament debuts sprayed a pass out to Nowell whose kick was latched onto by Watson in the nick of time in the in-goal area.
Though England's attempts to play an expansive game were often leading to numerous handling errors, they were able to revert to the set-piece which delivered their second try mid-way through the first half. Geoff Parling reined the ball in from the line out, and the subsequent drive saw Easter claim his seventh international try on what could be his final appearance.
Easter scored again barely a few minutes later after the fleet-footed Danny Care danced through a shaky Uruguay defence to put the ball on a plate for the Harlequins number eight. Captain Santiago Vilaseca was sin-binned on the stroke of half time and it took just two minutes after the break for England to hammer home the numerical advantage grab a fourth try - coupled with an irrelevant bonus point - as Care, George Ford and Alex Goode combined to release Watson for his third try of the tournament.
Uruguay were becoming increasingly error-prone after a respectable first half showing and as the wheels came off England ran in two quick-fire tries courtesy of their Exeter pair to put a gloss on their performance. First Slade followed a charge down with a solo run downfield before touching down for his first international try before Care stormed through before setting Nowell clear.
The 37-year-old Easter grabbed his third try of an extraordinary evening, before Nowell complete a treble of his own with scores in the corner, the second from another darting run from Slade as a jaded Uruguay were powerless to prevent the continual punishment, with a late penalty try only adding to the humiliation. The reality for Lancaster however is much greater challenges remain if he is to guide England into another World Cup.
Elsewhere, the line-up for the quarter-finals took further shape after victories for Australia and Scotland on the penultimate day of pool action. The Wallabies outlasted Wales 15-6 at Twickenham, after the Scots prevailed in a 36-33 thriller over Samoa at St James' Park.
In the eagerly awaited Pool A clash between Australia and Wales, two teams already assured of their places in the last eight, Bernard Foley kicked five penalties as Wales were denied in agonisingly circumstances. The 1991 and 1999 champions were reduced to 13 men for seven minutes of the second half but Warren Gatland's men were unable to breakthrough to allow Australia to setup a meeting with Scotland, while Wales will face South Africa, with an eleventh straight win over the Welsh.
Earlier, Scotland had the nerveless Greg Laidlaw to thank after the captain scored 26 points to help his side qualify as runners-up from Pool B. Samoa led by three points at the break thanks to tries from Tusi Pisi, Ma'atulimanu Leiataua and Rey Lee-Lo but after Laidlaw had kept his side in touch from the floor, his decisive try in the closing minutes clinched victory.
England: 15. Alex Goode, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Jack Nowell, 10. George Ford, 9. Danny Care; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Tom Youngs, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. James Haskell, 7. Chris Robshaw (c), 8. Nick Easter
Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Joe Marler, 18. David Wilson, 19. George Kruis, 20. Tom Wood, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Jonathan Joseph, 23. Mike Brown.
Uruguay: 15. Gaston Mieres, 14. Santiago Gibernau, 13. Joaquin Prada, 12. Andres Vilaseca, 11. Rodrigo Silva, 10. Felipe Berchesi, 9. Agustin Ormaechea; 1. Mateo Sanguinetti, 2. Carlos Arboleya, 3. Mario Sagario, 4. Santiago Vilaseca, 5. Jorge Zerbino, 6. Juan Manuel Gaminara, 7. Matias Beer, 8. Alejandro Nieto
Replacements: 16. Nicolas Klappenbach, 17. Oscar Duran, 18. Alejo Corral, 19. Diego Magno 20. Mathias Palomeque, 21. Agustin Alonso, 22. Alejo Duran, 23. Manuel Blengio.