Jonny Wilkinson insists he will bounce back "stronger and fitter than ever" from the shoulder injury which has ruled him out of the RBS 6 Nations championship.
England's World Cup hero will go into hospital in Newcastle on Wednesday to undergo surgery on his right shoulder, which he damaged for a second time in the Falcons' win over Northampton six weeks ago.
The 24-year-old fly-half has played just 53 minutes since the World Cup final in November because of the injury, but has averaged more than 20 games a season over the last three years and is looking forward to the opportunity to gain some rest and recuperation.
"I'm getting very excited about having six or seven weeks off and being able to throw everything into preparation," he told Sky Sports News.
"I can do that uninterrupted and really plan for coming back stronger and fitter than I've ever, ever been."
It is anticipated that Wilkinson will face a recovery period of between six and eight weeks, meaning he has no chance of featuring in any of England's RBS 6 Nations games.
But he could be back for his club this season before he sets his sights on an international return in the summer.
England coach Sir Clive Woodward will be hoping the surgery gives Wilkinson the chance to make a full recovery before the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.