James Haskell accepts England should be toppling the southern hemisphere giants and takes no pride in being "plucky runners-up".
Successive defeats by New Zealand and South Africa have elevated the remaining two QBE Internationals against Samoa and Australia into matches that Stuart Lancaster's under-pressure team dare not lose.
Haskell is set to win his 51st cap at Twickenham on Saturday as one of the changes Lancaster is expected to make, and while he remembers a time when three-point defeats to the All Blacks and Springboks were tolerable, he insists those days are now long gone.
"I have been involved with England when we were getting beaten heavily by these sides and when a narrow loss would have been acceptable," Haskell said.
"But this side has now developed to a point where we have beaten the world champions and where we ultimately should be beating these teams and be right up there.
"It's very easy to see us as plucky runners-up, but not one person in this entire environment has ever said that is the case."