After England's very disappointing performance in last year's RBS 6 Nations championship, they improved in the autumn internationals and I can definitely say, hand on heart, I think there was an improvement again against Wales.
Let's not get too carried away though, England beat Wales and they beat them well but that Welsh side was without at least one third of its best players through injury or suspension.
There were still plenty of things that didn't go well against Wales and we were under pressure quite a lot.
The good thing was that some of the other players came out and performed.
Jamie Noon pulled out a good performance, Mark Cueto has been playing well, and Charlie Hodgson had one of his best games for England, so there were distinct signs of improvement in what has so far been a stuttering backline for England.
I also think you saw straight away as soon as Lawrence (Dallaglio) came onto the pitch, he showed his experience.
He took a line-out cleanly in the air, brought it down and set up a great platform for England to attack from.
Lawrence had a very good game. I think Andy Robinson will find it very hard to keep him out of the next game against Italy.
England have never had easy games in Rome against Italy until the last 20 minutes, which would most probably follow the same type of game England played against Wales.
In all the times I've played against Italy, the first 60 minutes of the game is very competitive, it's very, very close.
It's only in the last 20 minutes that superior technique, strength, fitness and organisation comes to the fore and you can actually get some daylight between the two teams, which is what happened against Wales.
England only started putting the game beyond doubt from around the 73rd minute and I expect a similar pattern in Italy. It'll be a tough game, but a different prospect for this young England team to encounter.
You always need that confrontational battle up front. The Italian forwards are very big, very strong, and a lot of them play their rugby at the best clubs in France.
I definitely think Ramiro Pez will be an attacking threat, he has the ability to run and pass and bring people into the game. He's a great little player, we saw some great individual touches from him against Ireland.
Mauro Bergamasco will always be there or thereabouts because he's such a gritty player who always puts himself about. The front row will be very durable and I think the Italian forwards, especially the front five, will relish the battle against their England counterparts.
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.