England coach Joe Lydon has promised a place at the 2007 World Cup is the potential reward for those who impress in Canada over the next week and a half.
Lydon names his team for the Churchill Cup opener against the hosts on Thursday as England launch their bid to reclaim the crown snatched by the New Zealand Maori in injury time of last year's final.
The 2001 tour to North America, which led to the inception of the first Churchill Cup two years later, included a host of players who went on to help England lift the World Cup in 2003.
Josh Lewsey, Kyran Bracken, Steve Thompson, Trevor Woodman, Dorian West, Mark Regan, Julian White, Simon Shaw, Paul Grayson, Martin Corry, Joe Worsley, Lewis Moody and Ben Kay went on to become members of Sir Clive Woodward's squad in Australia.
The current Lions party in New Zealand contains three graduates from the 2003 Churchill Cup with Mark Cueto, Andrew Sheridan and Andrew Titterrell hoping to play a part in humbling the mighty All Blacks.
With the next World Cup two years away, history suggests Lydon's squad will contain a handful of players who will go on to help England defend their crown - a point emphasised by the former Great Britain rugby league star.
"We want to create an enjoyable winning environment. It's all about winning but the long-term picture is we need to assess these players and how they come together as a unit. We also need to see if they fit into our plans for 2007," he said.
"You only need to look back to see how successful these development squads have been. The amount of players who travelled to North America in 2001 and who went on to play in the World Cup or on the current Lions tour shows what a springboard it is.
"Since the start of the Churchill Cup most of the players who have competed in it have gone on to become England regulars. The players realise this is an opportunity to set them up for the future."
Last month's clash with Barbarians at Twickenham was a missed opportunity for England's stars of the future to shine as they slipped to a 52-39 defeat, but Lydon refuses to read too much into the result.
"We identified very quickly during the match that we weren't as competitive in contact areas as we needed to be, we gave possession away too easily and we missed too many tackles one on one.
"Having said that it was an excellent opportunity to get the players together, it was a really good run ahead of the Churchill Cup. We were disappointed by the result but there were also some pleasing aspects to emerge from it.
"We scored a lot of points against world-class opposition, we just need to reduce the amount of mistakes we made."
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