England's victory over Wales may have left more questions unanswered than answered, but Martin Johnson's side deserve credit for a performance that might just be the stepping stone to a brighter future.
Okay, so the 30-17 score-line flattered the hosts, and had it not been for one size 12 rugby boot and one errant pass late in the game, Martin Johnson's position might have been under the most intense of spotlights this week.
But there were improvements on their dismal autumn return, not least the three tries scored that were in stark contrast to the one managed in their three November internationals.
Furthermore, England survived an onslaught in the final half hour when their defensive shape was crumbling and they were in serious danger of throwing away another decent lead, like they did the last time the teams met at Twickenham.
Other positives were the stand-out performances of James Haskell, Danny Care and Nick Easter, while Steve Borthwick did enough to stem the tsunami of criticism that has flowed his way since he took over the captaincy.
Indeed, Borthwick had his best game in an England jersey. The likeable lock - nicknamed 'Enigma' while at Bath for his ability to break opposition lineout codes - destroyed the Wales lineout, was a reliable go-to man on England's throw and forced the turnover that led to their second try.
All of which deserves praise. On another afternoon England could quite easily have lost the match and the fact they did not may prove to be just the confidence boost they need to get Johnson's reign back on track.
And let's not forget the win came against a Wales side with nine Lions in their ranks, a team who were favourites to make it four wins in a row against their old enemy.
Make no mistake, England were clinging on desperately before Haskell's second try put the game beyond doubt, and had Wales not missed several kicks on goal and Tom James not spilled a try-scoring pass, then we could be discussing Johnson's successor as opposed to a potential new dawn for his team.
But the fact England were severely tested, and came out the other end, is likely to stand them in better stead than had Wales failed to bounce back from the loss of castigated bin-man Alun-Wyn Jones.
England will know they can play better, and they will need to do so if they are to have serious ambitions on the Six Nations title.
Worryingly, there were few signs of the new expansive approach mentioned by Johnson ahead of the match; one only has to replay the first 10 minutes when they went through phase after phase of clunky keep-ball to realise it was going to be another hard day at the office.
Their problems mostly stemmed from a poor midfield, where Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood and Mathew Tait rarely showed the imagination and attacking craft of Welsh magician James Hook, who was by far the best back on the pitch.
Wilkinson, Flood and Tait learned their trade playing together for many years at Newcastle, but you would never have known it.
England have some fine runners behind the scrum, but they too often rely on pure power and lack the composure to see what's in front of them.
The botched chance for Ugo Monye when England had a clear overlap is a perfect case in point. The fact that Monye was hauled down out wide, and by a prop of all people, when England had men over speak volumes.
It was a chance Wales would not have squandered.
Nor did England kick well from hand. Wilkinson and the out-of-sorts Delon Armitage need to improve this aspect of their game, especially if the latter is going to keep the jersey ahead of Ben Foden.
The good news is that both can play better and the return of Riki Flutey at inside centre should give England the direction and nous needed to release their dangerous back three, who were mostly unused against Wales.
Up front, Andrew Sheridan, and maybe even the veteran Julian White, will boost the scrum when they return from injury. Tim Payne and David Wilson coped okay against Wales, and did well enough in the loose, but England looked underpowered in the front row.
But England did what they had to do - they secured a win against superior opposition when the team and coaches were under severe pressure.
Winning in Rome is non-negotiable, especially after Italy's woeful performance in Dublin, and if they return with two wins from two then who knows what could be possible?