Andy Robinson has revealed a "real sense of excitement'' in the England camp after he named a 30-man squad for next week's RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales.
Head coach Robinson plans to name the starting line-up on Monday, and 18-year-old Newcastle prodigy Mathew Tait has taken a step closer to making his Test debut.
Tait's centre partner could be Newcastle team-mate Jamie Noon, who has also clinched a squad place, along with fellow midfield candidates Ollie Smith, Henry Paul and Olly Barkley.
Robinson stressed the group had been selected only with Wales in mind. Injuries have sidelined the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall and Martin Corry.
"It was no easy matter cutting back England's training squad to just 30, when every place has been so keenly contested,'' said Robinson.
"The enthusiasm and commitment shown by the players in our training days with Leeds Rhinos at Headingley, and at Loughborough University this month, has been tremendous.
"There is a real sense of excitement throughout the squad as we get ready to take on Wales.''
Premiership leaders Leicester have the biggest single representation with seven players, followed by Sale Sharks and Gloucester, with five each.
It would appear that Saracens skipper Hugh Vyvyan is likely to provide bench cover for a rejigged back-row of Lewis Moody, Andy Hazell and Joe Worsley at the Millennium Stadium.
The eight players who will drop out on Monday could include World Cup squad members Phil Vickery, Andy Gomarsall and Iain Balshaw.
And some 14 players - several of whom are injured - not included who were part of the England squad on training duty with Rhinos are Wilkinson, Tindall, Corry, James Simpson-Daniel, Stuart Abbott, Tom Voyce, Alex King, Andy Goode, Matt Stevens, Andy Beattie, Alex Brown, Adam Balding, Louis Deacon and Chris Jones.
Leicester centre Smith, meanwhile, will be looking to impress when the Tigers tackle Premiership opponents Harlequins at Welford Road on Saturday.
Smith has many supporters, although it would appear Tait has emerged on the rails and overtaken him in Robinson's available midfield pecking order.
"England are obviously in the situation where they've got a lot of front-line backs injured,'' said Leicester coach John Wells.
"I think both Ollie and Leon Lloyd are disappointed that they are seemingly not in immediate contention, and Saturday provides a great opportunity for us and them to show that they do deserve to be further up the pecking order.
"The way that the England back-line lined up at training this week, they were not involved in the set-up initially, so I think these two guys want to have a crack.
"If they play well, it is good for us and good for them.''
Off the field, Rugby Football Union chiefs announced plans to try to raise £100,000 for victims of the Asian Tsunami.
The RFU will donate £1 per ticket from the RBS 6 Nations clash between England and France on February 13, in addition to a collection taking place on the day.
"Financial support is needed for the short, mid and long term,'' said RFU chief executive Francis Baron.
"We hope that the money raised from England's match against France will support the fantastic efforts being made by the governments, relief organisations and volunteers to restore order in all the affected countries.''