England face their biggest game since winning the World Cup when they tackle Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations.
After enduring a difficult 2004, losing more Test matches than they won, England must launch their Six Nations campaign with victory to be considered as serious title contenders.
In what is widely viewed as the most open tournament in Six Nations history, England are realistically facing huge challenges for the championship crown from Wales, Ireland and France.
England, with new head coach Andy Robinson at the helm, are unrecognisable from the side that conquered planet rugby just over 14 months ago.
The likes of Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil back have retired from international rugby, while their fellow World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall, Will Greenwood, Stuart Abbott, Richard Hill and Martin Corry are all injured and unavailable for a tough Millennium Stadium mission.
Robinson has called up 18-year-old Newcastle centre Mathew Tait - England's youngest debutant since Wilkinson in 1998 - and also includes Tait's fellow Six Nations rookies Mark Cueto, Jamie Noon and Andy Hazell.
Wales, in contrast, have a settled look about them, and are strongly fancied to record a first victory over their arch-rivals in Cardiff since 1993.
The Welsh backs, spearheaded by mercurial centre Gavin Henson, possess pace and skill to burn, and if Wales can secure their share of quality ball, then England could be in for a long afternoon on the back-foot.
All games of rugby are won up-front though, which is where England appear to hold a decisive edge through the scrummaging power of Graham Rowntree and Julian White and lineout skills offered by Danny Grewcock and Ben Kay.
It could be a classic encounter, but English brute-strength should ultimately overcome Welsh flair in a classic case of beast beats beauty.
G Thomas (Toulouse, capt); Luscombe (Newport Gwent Dragons), Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), Henson (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), S Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys); S Jones (Clermont Auvergne), Peel (Llanelli Scarlets); Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Davies (Gloucester), A Jones (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Cockbain (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Sidoli (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), Owen (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets), Yapp (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), R Jones (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Cooper (Newport Gwent Dragons), Sweeney (Newport Gwent Dragons), Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons).
J Robinson (Sale Sharks, capt); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tait (Newcastle), J Noon (Newcastle), J Lewsey (Wasps); C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), M Dawson (Wasps); G Rowntree (Leicester), S Thompson (Northampton), J White (Leicester), D Grewcock (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), L Moody (Leicester), A Hazell (Gloucester), J Worsley (Wasps).
Replacements: A Titterrell (Sale Sharks), P Vickery (Gloucester), S Borthwick (Bath), J Forrester (Gloucester), H Ellis (Leicester), O Barkley (Bath), B Cohen (Northampton).
Rhino Rugby, who are the Official Licensee of the RBS 6 Nations for Supporter Apparel for the 2016 and 2017 competitions, have followed the example of Wasps Finance Plc in issuing a retail bond to fund their expansion plans.