They may have thumped Italy 59-13 at Twickenham last year but England will not be underestimating the Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday.
The hosts will be making their Six Nations debut at the Eternal City's famous old stadium in front of a 72 000 sell-out crowd and that in itself is enough to leave the English feeling wary.
That and their struggles to overcome a limited Scotland outfit 13-6 at Murrayfield last weekend.
South African-born England lock Mouritz Botha is sure the reigning Six Nations champions will have their work cut out.
"It will be a big battle. Italy are one of the sides which has made massive strides over the past few years. They are not a wooden-spoon team any more," he said.
"At home in their new stadium they will be up for the challenge with 70 000 fans behind them."
But although the visitors, who have named an unchanged lineup, will not be taking their hosts lightly, backs coach Andy Farrell, whose son Owen will start at inside centre, says the holders have nothing to fear.
"We are not concerned about what lies ahead because the culture we are trying to drive gets us in the right place all the time," Farrell said.
"We know the passions of the Italians. We know they are playing at a new stadium that is going to be full, we know they will want to show what they are about as a rugby nation.
"The size of the challenge is similar to what we met last week," he pointed out.
Last week England were often pushed onto the back foot but showed great resolve in keeping out a Scotland side that spent periods camped inside the visiting 22.
"We defended like Trojans at times and we didn't let Scotland cross our line. We made 238 tackles, by our own statistics, and we had to defend for 27 minutes and 54 seconds," added Farrell.
"That is more than I have ever known, that is more than the stats guys have ever known. The aim was to give the nation something to be proud about and we definitely did that.
"We are a new team that had 10 days together and to fight for one another like we did and to come out with a victory and the Calcutta Cup was a tremendous effort," he said.
Italy's French coach Jacques Brunel is trying to implement a more attacking and adventurous style into his side's play.
That was evident in their first match in Paris, although missed tackles cost them dearly in their 30-12 defeat to France.
Although Brunel intends to keep faith with the more expansive game, he says he isn't going to be stubborn about it and he wants to avoid the situation Scotland found themselves in, battling away inside England's 22 but to no reward.
"I'm partisan to playing rugby but sometimes it's stupid when you just play for that aim," he said.
"You lose a match that way, you can't just keep the ball in the 22. The Scots were excessive in that respect and we don't want to go to that excess."
Italy are often accused of lacking the talent of their opponents, particularly in the three-quarter line but Brunel doesn't believe his team is want of ability.
"I don't know if they're not as good but the French backs were very, very efficient," he said. "They didn't have many chances but scored four tries, we didn't have that efficiency."
And he is also expecting his side to prove that their defensive mistakes were a case of individual errors rather than a wider deficiency.
"Our aim at international level is that you can't miss more than six to seven percent of tackles but we missed 16 percent in that game," he added.
"We didn't think it would be possible but that was how it went, it's not the character of this team."
Players to watch:
For Italy: Skilful fullback Andrea Masi is always a tricky customer and will punish England if they give him too much space to work with, while in the pack the example will be set by skipper Sergio Parisse who is a major threat from the back of the scrum. Expect the Italians to play with plenty of passion in front of their packed home crowd and the tone will be set in the front row as props Martin Castrogiovanni and Andrea Lo Cicero look to stamp their authority on the England forwards.
For England: Ben Foden and Chris Ashton will want to provide the spark out wide if they are given the ball often enough by the solid if not adventurous midfield pairing of Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt. Captain Chris Robshaw and fellow flank Tom Croft will look to set the example once again in terms of commitment and hunger on defence, while hooker Dylan Hartley will be keen to use his physicality to take the game to the opposition.
Head to head: The duel between Castrogiovanni and England loosehead Alex Corbisiero at scrum-time will be crucial, as the Italian tighthead will want to get on top early on and get his team some good momentum. With a major forward tussle expected it will be up to both scrumhalves - Ben Youngs and Edoardo Gori - to deal with the pressure and release their backlines effectively, while at the back both Masi and Foden will want to punish the opposition if allowed too much room to move and weave their magic.
2011: England won 59-13 in London
2010: England won 17-12 in Rome
2009: England won 36-11 in London
2008: England won 23-19 in Rome
2007: England won 20-7 in London
2006: England won 31-16 in Rome
2005: England won 39-7 in London
2004: England won 50-9 in Rome
2003: England won 40-5 in London
2002: England won 45-9 in Rome
Prediction: Italy will come out firing and are likely to land a few blows through their impressive forward pack. However, England showed plenty of composure and character under pressure last week and they should be able to soak that up before hitting back against what is likely to be a tiring Azzurri side in the second half. We are backing England to take it in a nalibiter by less than five points.
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Antonio Pavanello, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Fabio Semenzato, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Luca Morisi.
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Phil Dowson, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Geoff Parling, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Jordan Turner-Hall, 22 Mike Brown.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 17.00 (16.00 GMT)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy, 20 kph wind with light rain expected. High of 5°C and a low of 1°C
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Neil Paterson (Scotland)
TMO: Tony Redmond (Ireland)
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