England coach Sir Clive Woodward claims he is relishing the challenge of next month's demanding tour to New Zealand and Australia.
Woodward's side will tackle the All Blacks twice and then the Wallabies, despite being without almost half of their victorious World Cup squad.
The three-Test trip comes at the end of a long and punishing season, but Woodward is upbeat about what lies ahead.
"It's a huge challenge at the end of a great season, and it is fantastic to be going down there," he said.
"It is a great place to go on tour. You want to go to the toughest place and play, and we are looking forward to it.
"I think that the best thing we can do is to go down there and go head to head with the best teams in the world."
England will be without several of their World Cup heroes, including retired international stars Martin Johnson and Neil Back, the injured Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson.
Robinson, Will Greenwood and Ben Kay have all been excused duty from the tour, and Woodward is adamant it is the right decision.
"Jason feels that he is running on empty. He told me that he has not had a proper break since something like 1992, and we have to support his request," Woodward added.
"Greenwood and Kay both wanted to go, but I felt that they needed a summer off, and we are looking forward to having them back later in the year."
England leave for New Zealand on June 2, and Woodward can only hope that several front-line players retain full fitness during the next fortnight, especially the 15-strong contingent from Bath and Wasps, who meet each other in the Premiership final on May 29.
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.