England head coach Stuart Lancaster is plotting the next step in his side's long-term development in South Africa.
Lancaster's men kicked off a three-test series at Durban's Kings Park overnight.
The former Leeds boss restored optimism in the England camp after taking over following last year's disappointing World Cup and now wants to build on a promising Six Nations campaign.
Lancaster said: "If we are serious about becoming one of the best sides in the world, which is ultimately what we are, we need to benchmark ourselves against the best and play against the best. This is what we are doing." The series will be a strong test of Lancaster's credentials after his impressive showing in the Six Nations.
He said: "You get the sense there is a big game and you can feel the weight of expectation and pressure.
"As a coach, all I want to do is give the team the best chance of winning, make the right calls selection-wise, give them the right information and select the right team.
"From my point of view, there is the sense a big game is around the corner and a big test. It is a bit like the calm before the storm at the moment."
Lancaster has revamped the side since February and hopes people can see the steady progress he is making with the long-term goal of success at the 2015 World Cup at home.
He said: "I would hope the English public would want us to play the same way we did in the Six Nations. Certainly we made great strides at that point.
"I'm hoping the English public are sat there at home thinking, 'I am looking forward to seeing this side play, I am excited about it, I can see the progression in terms of selection, where we are going, I can see where we want to end up in three years' time'.
"Track record suggests this is one of the toughest challenges to take on."