Ben Morgan is determined to hold on to his starting jersey as England continue to build towards the World Cup.
The Gloucester number eight was one of 20 players selected in a training squad that linked up at the the Lensbury Club, Teddington yesterday.
Having starred from the bench in the initial rounds of the Six Nations, he continued his fine form following Billy Vunipola’s Championship-ending injury.
He has been frustrated by the consistency of his club displays this season and admits it has been difficult to perform off the back of a struggling back.
But Morgan believes he is nearing a return to form and he is relishing the prospect of facing the reigning world champions during the three Test tour of New Zealand in June.
He said: “I started the last two matches of the Six Nations and I don’t want to give up that jersey.
“My form has picked back up a little bit of late so I’m pleased in that sense but obviously I know I haven’t been where I want to be for the whole season.
“I’ve had some real highs in there too but it (this season) is something I want to put behind me and just focus on trying to get on an upward curve.
“It’s not easy when things aren’t right in the pack but you just have to keep working on what you have to do for your team and get on with it.
“It’s up to them (the coaches) what happens in regard to the tour, but I will keep my head down and if I’m selected it will be fantastic.
“It will be a huge challenge, they’re a phenomenal team and what a fantastic place to play.
“They have such a good record out there.”
Morgan was part of the England side that conquered the All Blacks at Twickenham in 2012 and he insists it is vital they leave the Land of the Long White Cloud in positive mood.
The England World Cup-winning squad of 2003 travelled Down Under and beat both New Zealand and Australia on their home patch ahead of the global gathering.
England will be without a host of front-line players for the first Test on June 7, but Morgan reckons any Red Rose newcomers will be up to the task in hand and it would only make England stronger.
He said: “Beating New Zealand was fantastic and Twickenham was unbelievable that day.
“It gives you a lot of confidence as a player and as a team, we are really developing well.
“The Six Nations, the autumn, everything, things have really been building and that’s something Stuart (Lancaster), Graham (Rowntree) and Faz (Andy Farrell) have been working on.
“Everyone that has come in has really taken their opportunity and the fact that there’s so much competition really drives everyone on.
“It’s all experience, we talk about the World Cup and you have to have a squad to win it – that is what we’re building.
“Who needs more motivation than going up against the world’s best?
“The guys coming in for their first opportunity will relish that experience.
“It’s important we take something positive from the tour.
“We talk about a pathway in the lead up to the World Cup and there are certain milestones you want to hit.
“But the performances are more important and we have to carry that on and keep working on things.”