England go into their RBS Six Nations Championship clash against France knowing they will leave Paris on Sunday night as major title contenders or tournament also-rans.
While 'Le Crunch' will not directly decide where this season's Six Nations silverware ends up, it promises to have a major bearing towards which European super-power fails to deliver just 18 months before the World Cup.
Recent history suggests England are up against it, having last won at Stade de France six years ago when Jonny Wilkinson's goalkicking and an immense defensive display under-pinned a 15-9 success.
France coach Bernard Laporte has also recalled Biarritz and former Gloucester scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, who scored 37 of his country's 42 points in home and away victories over England during the past two seasons.
It is little wonder then that Wasps flanker Joe Worsley describes any prospect of toppling France on home soil as a career highlight.
Worsley, who wins his 48th cap this weekend, was in England's starting line-up for the past two failed Paris missions - experiences which under-line an acute degree of difficulty he knows awaits the world champions on Sunday.
"It is just such a difficult place to go to and win a game," he said. "The only way you are going to win it is by really fronting up and having a physical battle with them.
"Normally, every time they play us they seem to come out of the blocks flying. I remember playing there two years ago, and they were exceptional in the first half.
"We actually fought back but couldn't quite pull it off - and we are under no illusions this is going to be an extremely tough match."
England must pick themselves up after a dismal Calcutta Cup defeat against Scotland two weeks ago, an occasion when they made three times the number of passes their opponents managed and only a third of tackles - but still lost 18-12.
"If you look at the statistics from the Scotland game it should have been a one-sided match," said Worsley.
"But Scotland defended amazingly well and we have had to address what we do with the ball and how we use it.
"We were pretty happy with the first-half performance (at Murrayfield), but I felt the game slowed down in the second period and became very stop-start - whereas previously it had been quite fluid.
"If we win on Sunday we've got a chance of winning the tournament. But lose it, and we are really playing for third place.
"I am always optimistic but also well aware of the magnitude of the task ahead. To win out there would be one of the highlights of my career."
England's away form during the past two years has been woeful, with just one win recorded from eight Tests on the road - a fact not lost on head coach Andy Robinson.
"I think you have to have specific tactics when you play away from home; plus if you don't have the crowd advantage then it can make a huge difference," he said.
"But having said that, part of the mantra we have is we should be able to win anywhere in the world and against any opposition." ..SUPL: