England placed one of their weak spots in full view yesterday.
Jonny May even sat in front of the media and tapped at it gently, the wing having suffered a non-displaced fracture to his nose during a defeat by France in the opening match of the RBS 6 Nations. He is expected to put his neb back in harm's way against Scotland tomorrow.
That Calcutta Cup match always had the potential to become rough but May has little problem risking another fracture at Murrayfield, with the England medical team clearing him to take his place in an unchanged starting XV.
The Gloucester player lasted only eight minutes of the 26-24 defeat in Paris after colliding with the knee of team-mate Mike Brown. Withdrawn as a precaution, a specialist has subsequently cleared him to return to action tomorrow. May does not expect to get out again without taking another bash on the nose.
"I've broken my nose in the past and I've had a few knocks on it. It was waiting to go," said May. "I will probably get a smack on the nose early in the Scotland game, but it's sore most of the time anyway. It gets hit in most games. If that happens it might bleed, in which case I'll go off and get it treated and go straight back on if I can. At least we're aware of what it is this time. I'm not worried about it."
Tomorrow will be the first time in Stuart Lancaster's two-year reign as England head coach that the same starting XV has been retained for successive matches. England were crushed by their late defeat at the Stade de France, but have been consoled by a spirited performance.
Lancaster will not be left feeling uncomfortable in Edinburgh either, since that is where his tenure as head coach began - taking interim charge ahead of a match with Scotland that ended in a dour 13-6 victory for England.
Little had been expected of the coach or a team rebuilt hastily after the 2011 World Cup had damaged reputations on and off the pitch. Now England come north considered to be strong favourites capable of reviving their title aspirations.
"Expectations are different, there's no doubt about it," said Lancaster yesterday. "At the time I had the interim coach's job and as far as I was aware it was going to end in March. There was almost a nothing-to-lose attitude at that point.
"If you want to be a successful team you look at the All Blacks. They deal with expectation and embrace it. They thrive on it. It's not just the external expectation but the internal ones, because it's those that drive performance.
"Going to Edinburgh does feel different now, but it's still exciting in the same way. I still believe 100% in the direction we're going. Beyond the 2015 World Cup there is a really good team in the making here. We didn't get everything right against France, but when you look back at that performance we deserved to win. If you keep putting in performances like that your wins will outnumber your losses."
The England head coach would also reiterate that Sam Burgess would be made to serve his union apprenticeship before being picked to represent his country, should he cross codes later this year. Bath are favourites to lure the player to the Aviva Premiership in a deal thought to be part-funded by the Rugby Football Union, albeit they have denied approaching the 25-year-old.
It is understood that Leicester considered signing the England and Great Britain league internationalist without the RFU's financial assistance, but ultimately balked at the £500,000 transfer fee demanded by Burgess' club side, South Sydney Rabbitohs. Their withdrawal has cleared a path for the player to join another league convert, Kyle Eastmond, at Bath, where he is likely to be recruited as their salary-cap exemption.
However, Lancaster insisted that the path into the national team is not quite as clear for Burgess. "Given the competitiveness of the squad we've got at the moment, any new player coming in would have to earn the right to play," he said.
"They do that by consistent, top-level Premiership rugby. Let's talk about Kyle Eastmond. He was going to have to play well in the Premiership in order to get into the England team. That is the way it should be."