England's rising generation of potential Test fly-halves have received a sobering Christmas message about the task they face in 2008 - dislodging Jonny Wilkinson.
Young guns Danny Cipriani, Ryan Lamb and Shane Geraghty could all be named alongside Wilkinson in the elite England player squad on January 2.
But Steve Bates, one of Wilkinson's club coaches at Newcastle, believes the double World Cup finalist still stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Bates said: "I know there is lots of talk about various young fly-halves coming through at the moment, but you would have to go a very, very long way to usurp Jonny.
"He is in excellent form, he is enjoying his rugby and he is in magnificent physical shape.
"You just have to look at the guy every single day in training, which people on the outside don't see. He is in absolutely sensational condition, and he has a huge amount to offer."
Wilkinson and Lamb are set for an enthralling head-to-head battle when Newcastle entertain Guinness Premiership leaders Gloucester at Kingston Park on Sunday.
Wilkinson's brilliant display during the 39-0 European Challenge Cup demolition of Connacht last weekend came just a day after Lamb amassed 26 points as Gloucester crushed Heineken Cup opponents Bourgoin.
And Bates, Falcons' coaching and technical director, knows Wilkinson will be key to Newcastle's victory hopes.
He added: "Jonny is an outstanding player who can turn games, so what we have to do as a team is make sure he has that opportunity.
"What he has is great support outside him in the backs, and this season, in addition to that, we now have an increasingly solid base up front from which to build a game.
"That is a good mix for Jonny to shine, and I am sure we will see that again on Sunday."
While Lamb heads north, Cipriani and Wasps travel west for an appointment with Bristol on Saturday after a faltering start to their Premiership campaign.
Currently ninth, Wasps will arrive at the Memorial Stadium without England World Cup captain Phil Vickery, who is suspended after being cited for trampling on Clermont Auvergne lock Thibaut Privat a fortnight ago.
Bristol, though, have lost the services of scrum-half Shaun Perry and number eight Dan Ward-Smith through long-term injury setbacks. They were both hurt during last weekend's Heineken Cup victory over Harlequins.
Quins, out of Europe following three defeats and a draw, will seek solace in the Premiership on Saturday when Saracens - two points and two places above them - arrive at the Twickenham Stoop.
Heineken Cup form suggests an away win, but Saracens are without hooker Matt Cairns due to a broken arm and Quins must get their season back on track following some disappointing European failures.
Bath, meanwhile, will go top of the Premiership if they beat Recreation Ground visitors Leeds Carnegie on Saturday, with reigning league champions Leicester visiting Sale Sharks on Sunday, when London Irish also host bottom club Worcester.