Brian Ashton has described the prospect of England's daunting two-Test tour to New Zealand as "fantastic."
England will face the All Blacks in Auckland on June 14 and Christchurch seven days later.
And the England head coach is expected to remain in charge this summer, despite his team’s topsy-turvy RBS 6 Nations campaign.
The 2007 World Cup finalists at least ended on a high, smashing Ireland 33-10 at Twickenham thanks mainly to the efforts of fly-half prodigy Danny Cipriani, who kicked 18 points and orchestrated a vastly-improved display.
It came just three weeks after England beat France in Paris, yet the tournament also produced a first home defeat against Wales for 20 years and a miserable Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland.
Next stop is New Zealand, where England have won just twice from 10 attempts in 45 years, but they desperately need to establish some consistency with regard to performances and results.
Ashton said: “The next two games are away in Auckland and Christchurch, so if you’re looking to get on a bit of a roll you wouldn’t pick those.
“But what a fantastic challenge now to finish a tournament like we did and then go down and play against New Zealand.
“It is terrific. From my point of view it’s fantastic.”
England’s coach was pleased with how his side performed against Ireland.
Ashton added: “I am really pleased for the players.
“They have not had the rewards they should have had. Part of that has been their fault, part of it has been ours - it’s been a combined thing.
“But for the first time we put into operation in the game what we said we would do during the week.
“The side played close to its potential. That was one of the most complete performances we’ve seen for some time.
“I remember games like that leading up to the 2003 World Cup. I don’t remember many since. It was a game played with a fair bit of authority.
“We were looking for a big performance. We got that, and we ended up with a victory which, in Six Nations terms, was a pretty big win since we hadn’t beaten them since 2003.
“The future is bright, and England supporters can look forward to some exciting times over the next three years.
“The players can go out with their heads held high after a complete performance like that.
“It was a relief for them in front of a home crowd who have supported them through thick and thin over the past four or five years.
“I was concerned why things were not happening, but the rebound effect from last week (against Scotland) was a massive stimulus for the players.”