I hope we can do well in this tournament. We have to.
The team have a desire to show their value as is normal. They're coming off the back of a World Cup where we didn't play very well. They should have done much better in terms of play and attitude, so I believe all the players have something to prove.
Our problem is that we don't have a clear idea who will be the scrum half and who will be the fly half. Alessandro Troncon, who was one of our key players, retired and we are still missing a proper fly half.
The scrum is really good and so are the backs. We've got players but not many. With a full team we can be competitive but the problem remains at number 9 and number 10. If we can find the balance there I believe we can do well.
On the other hand we have a new coach which always brings enthusiasm, and he will certainly bring new ideas. Obviously there's the aspect that he might take a little time to get through to the players but I'm confident he'll do that. Nick Mallett has been around for such a long time. He is close to the European mentality so he knows what the RBS 6 Nations means.
He will face the problem of injuries because the games are so close together and Italy doesn't have depth in terms of players. I would say we have 20 - maybe 22 - international players and the first and second choice are not really at the same level, or at least not compared to other teams.
This year, even more than previously, nothing is guaranteed because all the teams have changed a lot of players and many have new coaches, so they'll have new ideas. It's really difficult to pick out someone as favourites because all the teams have something to prove - some because they didn't do so well in the World Cup, others because they have a new coach.
But I would say that England are favourites because they did pretty well in the World Cup and have shown that even in difficult times they have the skills and ability to do well in any situation. It's going to very close and I'm ready to see surprises.
I think Italy can disappoint someone. We can compete with everyone - we have talented players. We have players who play overseas and make a difference in their various competitions. The balance is there and I'm really comfortable that we can grow.
People are becoming more passionate in Italy about rugby. It's really big and it's getting bigger and bigger. It's a fantastic moment for Italy and that's why we need the results - to attract even more people.
Mako Vunipola may be his rival for a starting spot in England's front row but Joe Marler is ecstatic to have his fellow loosehead back in the international fold - claiming it will spur him on to even greater heights.