Tom Wood believes winning the Six Nations would lift a little pressure from England’s shoulders ahead of the World Cup on home soil.
Stuart Lancaster’s side go into Saturday’s game against France at Twickenham sitting top of the table in the six-team tournament.
However, England, who boast a superior points difference, Wales and Ireland are currently locked on six points, with the French still in contention on four.
And Wood, who starts the game on the replacements bench, knows just how important Six Nations glory could be to he and his team-mates as they prepare for the big one later this year.
“Winning in general in an England shirt is vital because it relieves the pressure,” said the Saints star.
“You can say what you want in the media afterwards and if you’ve won, you can be hard on yourselves, you can be constructive, you can be whatever you want.
We haven’t won a Championship in the past few years. We’ve come very close and narrowly missed outTom Wood
“But if you’ve lost, you surrender the high ground and you have to take all the flak on the chin, regardless of its credibility.
“Winning always leaves you in a position of strength in the press, pressure wise it buys you some breathing space.
“In terms of the journey we’re on and everything else, the result itself isn’t the be-all and end-all.
“It’s the performance, the way we conduct ourselves - you’re never entitled to win, you’re only entitled to go out there and compete and play to the best of your ability.”
Wood came off the bench to help England claim a 25-13 victory against Scotland last Saturday.
And he knows now is the time for his team to seize the chance of claiming an overdue title.
“We’ve got things to work on after the last few games and we’ll set about doing that,” Wood added.
“Of course, we always want to win at Twickenham and the game in its own right is important because if you pull on an England shirt in front of 80,000 fans at home you want to win the game on its own merits, never mind the Championship.
“We haven’t won a Championship in the past few years. We’ve come very close and narrowly missed out.
“We’ve been on potential grand slams and fallen short and it would be great to have that trophy back in our cabinet, but we’ve got to win the game first and treat it as a one-off game, not necessarily worrying about the context of the tournament.”