There are still seven months to go before the World Cup starts but British & Irish Lion Ben Youngs admits it’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind ahead of England’s clash with Italy.
England are riding on the crest of a wave at the moment, having beaten Wales at the Millennium Stadium last week to avenge their bitter defeat at the same venue in 2013.
Youngs, who appeared in two Tests for the Lions that same year, is also hitting top form after wrestling England’s scrum-half starting spot away from Danny Care.
Fellow Lions Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola will join Youngs in the matchday 23 at Twickenham but the Leicester Tigers captain says no one can rest on their laurels should they have designs on starring in the World Cup later this year.
''Every game is a dress rehearsal for a World Cup. Italy is a dress rehearsal for a home World Cup,'' said the scrum-half.
''We've only got seven games before our first game in the tournament against Fiji, so there are only so many dress rehearsals you can have.
''Everyone wants to put their hand up and stake a claim come the World Cup. As a team, week by week, we have got to push on from where we are at.
''My information is much better than it used to be in terms of what I'm saying. There used to be a lot of white noise. I have been working on what I am actually saying, giving clear information.”