Tim Payne and Matt Mullan cross paths during the RBS 6 Nations
England prop Tim Payne maintains he won't give up his England No.1 shirt without a fight despite the emergence of loosehead talents Jon Golding and Matt Mullan this season.
Payne has often been scapegoated for Wasps' scrummaging woes and was on the receiving end of a battering from England teammate Dan Cole in their defeat to Leicester earlier this season.
But Opta Statistics showed Payne was the best performing loosehead during the RBS 6 Nations, finishing near the top of the pile for both carries and tackles for a front rower.
And while several young guns might be eyeing up his place, 31-year-old Payne says they are going to have to wait their turn until after the 2011 World Cup where he believes England can conquer despite a mixed Six Nations.
He said: "Matt Mullan is a young 22-year-old lad with a good future but you need the old heads to help these guys through, and that includes me.
"England actually did perform in the Six Nations. We won a great game against Wales, were very unlucky against Ireland, and to go out to Scotland is tough.
"Our record there isn't great, but they are a tough team. We were unlucky against France, but the only way is up, and that is the way England are going.
"I wouldn't play the game if I didn't think we could win in 2011, and every time I go on the pitch I think we are going to win."
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.