England hooker Steve Thompson is preparing for a massive forward battle against Italy at Twickenham on Saturday to turn around his side's fortunes.
The World Cup holders are widely expected to bring this year's run of three successive RBS 6 Nations defeats - by Wales, France and Ireland - to an end against the Azzurri.
But Thompson knows from experience it will not be as easy as the fans expect.
"There's one team you don't want to play when you are in a position like this and that's the Italians," said the 26-year-old Northampton Saints skipper, who rates Italy a growing force on the international scene.
"They showed against Ireland that they are a very difficult team to beat. They have got no
respect for anyone."
"Before, teams used to go out and put points on them but it's not happening now. Their forward pack is starting to be a bit of a formidable unit. They are very physical.
"It doesn't matter whether you are beating teams by 70 points or one point, when you are in the front row you are getting battered and bruised, especially against a team like Italy.
"We have beaten them comfortably a couple of times but I have always come off battered and bruised. They are always hard matches.
"Sometimes you can wear them down but they are showing this year that they can go the full 80 minutes. They can put phases together and they have really moved forward over the last couple of years," he said.
Despite his respect for the opposition, Thompson insists the England camp is in "excellent" spirits.
He added: "We have got a young squad and this is one of the best feelings I have been involved in. I know we are all really disappointed about losing but you can feel everyone's getting together.
"It would be quite easy at the moment for the squad to crack but it has not at all. Everyone knows that we are building and moving forward."
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.