It’s been a turbulent time for Eddie Jones and England since this year’s NatWest 6 Nations campaign, but attention now turns to their mouth-watering three-Test series against South Africa.
Jones named an intriguing squad to travel to the Cape, leaving Danny Care at home and resting Lions James Haskell and Dan Cole – the latter starting all but one of his games in charge.
Despite much being made of the 20 players absent, those that remain have the chance to stake their claim for a place at the World Cup; here’s our pick of three to keep an eye on.
The leg injury suffered by Ben Te’o caused a late adjustment to England’s plans, with Lozowski expected to step into the 13 jersey.
Summer rugby holds good memories for the former Yorkshire Carnegie youngster, who earned his first two caps last June against Argentina and scored a stunning debut try in his third appearance.
Another stellar season at Saracens has kept the 23-year-old firmly in the reckoning, his partnership with Owen Farrell – who will skipper this side – continuing to blossom.
Exeter Chiefs man Henry Slade is also in the frame. The two players went up against each other in the Premiership final and expect the jostle for outside centre berth to be just as hotly-contested.
Where Cipriani goes, the spotlight follows and the same was true when Jones opted to call up the Wasps wizard and reignite his international hopes.
In exile since 2015 and still sitting on 15 caps, the 30-year-old’s sparkling form for the Coventry club forced the coach’s hand and made him an indispensable creative force.
But it will be fascinating to see how he’s deployed in South Africa and whether Jones follows through on his plans to deploy him at full-back.
Mike Brown is the incumbent and Jason Woodward’s Gloucester form makes him a credible candidate – so Cipriani won’t have it easy – but should get the chance to sprinkle his magic.
Shields’ release from Super Rugby side Hurricanes and re-routing into the England squad has been another source of debate since Jones announced his squad.
Just about everyone in the rugby world has had their pound of flesh on the principle of the native Kiwi making his Red Rose debut before signing for new club Wasps.
It might be more instructive to see if Shields can use the tour to shake up his new country’s back row as plans for Japan come into sharper focus.
A solid set of performances in this series could make up minds about his suitability as cover for Chris Robshaw; any advance on this might plant him even further in Jones’ thoughts.