Stuart Lancaster says England's Six Nations campaign is the first step on a long journey of redemption that leads all the way to the 2015 World Cup.
The problem for the caretaker England coach is that his employers at the Rugby Football Union may well eject him from the cockpit before he has barely had time to fasten his seatbelt.
Appointed on an interim basis following a poor World Cup which resulted in the resignation of Martin Johnson after scathing criticism of the former coach's regime, Lancaster effectively has only two games to prove he is the right man to lead England on their road to rehabilitation.
But the RFU decision to set a February 15 deadline for applications for the England coach means that the clock is already ticking.
Anything less than strong showings against Scotland in their opening fixture at Murrayfield on February 4 and against Italy a week later, and the chances of Lancaster becoming a permanent appointment will surely recede.
While Lancaster has generally received a positive press so far, England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward delivered a sobering assessment suggesting the former Saxons coach was fortunate to have landed the top job.
"Considering the fact that he's never coached a team at Premiership level he must be thinking how lucky he is to get this opportunity," Woodward said.
"He's spoken a lot of common sense but it's easy to talk common sense. How can we make any judgments when we've not seen how his teams even play? In the end he will be judged solely on results."
Lancaster, who was director of rugby at Leeds before joining the RFU as a development coach in 2008, is adamant that his perceived lack of experience will not be a factor.
"The best coaches that I see operate in the Premiership or in any sport are those that are confident in their own personal philosophy, and confident in their beliefs and they can transfer those through to the team," he said.
"Fundamentally I want to develop a team that has some longevity to it - that can compete in the Six Nations, can go to South Africa this summer, the autumn internationals and beyond. It's about now and the future. That's the challenge.
"We've got to develop a team that is capable of competing at the World Cup in 2015. Part of that journey starts now."
Lancaster's preparations for the Six Nations have seen him attempt to enforce a cultural shift on the England squad following the negative publicity which surrounded the team during the World Cup in New Zealand.
Portrayal of England's World Cup campaign as a glorified stag do has prompted a back-to-basics approach which has included moving the team's pre-Six Nations training camp from a swanky resort in Portugal to Leeds.
"We want to be known as a humble, hard-working, honest team who graft and get on and do the job and represent England with pride," Lancaster said.
"I can't comment about what was said in the past and what people's perceptions were but this is a new team.
"Certainly any team I've coached, I'd be disappointed if people termed us as arrogant. And I'd be disappointed if in six to 12 months time people are saying that about us."
Lancaster has also sought out high-profile figures from the English sporting landscape to hold what he hopes will be inspirational talks with the squad, including former England footballer Gary Neville and cricket chief Hugh Morris.
"Gary Neville never turned down playing for England. He played 85 times. He's one of the most capped players in England history," Lancaster said.
"He was frustrated because he never felt that he achieved with England what he wanted to achieve.
"He wants to help the players understand that when you get it right and you are playing for your country and your nation is behind you. He wants to help our team get that feeling.
"I think I'm trying to remind the players the pride, the honour the standing of what being an international rugby player in England is. It's massive.
"We've got 2,500 people coming to watch us training and we could have had 5,000. That's the power of England. If the players understand that, then you get more responsible behaviour as well."
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