But with the Wallabies going on to get annihilated by defending champions New Zealand 62-17 in the final, Mapletoft - who is joining Harlequins to work in Conor O'Shea's coaching staff - says England's defensive capabilities would have been found wanting against the Baby Blacks.
He said: "Of course we wanted to finish as high as possible but what would have happened in the final is another question.
"Australia were better than us in the semi-final and for them to get that sort of thrashing in the final shows how good New Zealand are.
"I don't know if it would have been different if we were there and maybe avoiding that sort of result was a good thing for the players.
"But against both Australia and South Africa our ability to make line tackles and understand to use defensive systems was poor.
"It was especially disappointing against South Africa we seemed to lose interest in defending."