England captain Lewis Moody admits losing the Grand Slam at the hands of Ireland was "soul-destroying", however he believes the national team could not be better placed heading into the World Cup.
The all-action Bath flanker missed the entire RBS Six Nations campaign through injury, leaving Mike Tindall and latterly Nick Easter to share captaincy duties.
Four successive victories saw England claim the Championship outright heading to Dublin for the final fixture, however Martin Johnson's men were blown away by the Irish as their search for a Grand Slam extended to a ninth year.
Speaking on the campaign as a whole, Moody refused to dwell on the Dublin defeat, instead opting to look forward in what he believes is an "exciting time" to be an England player.
Speaking exclusively to skysports.com at a GATORADE training session with his Bath team mates, Moody said: "It was very difficult to watch (against Ireland) . As captain, to miss the whole Six Nations was bitterly frustrating, especially with the boys going so well.
"To see how the game went in Dublin was soul-destroying. I felt it very deeply in terms of being apart of it as much as the players.
"The important thing is, we could not be in a better position as England. We've won the Six Nations Championship and people are still frustrated by it.
"The boys are hungry because we know we could have played better and won that Grand Slam. On the day we were well beaten by a team that played exceptionally well but it creates that hunger now ahead of the World Cup."
The World Cup will be staged in New Zealand later this year, with England returning to the southern hemisphere harbouring genuine hopes of emulating their historic 2003 triumph across the Tasman Sea in Australia.
While the Ireland defeat dampened both spirits and preparations for Johnson and his men, Moody insists the younger players in the squad will come out of the campaign hungrier than ever.
"It gives a lot of the squad who were under 25 who haven't had involvement in those big games appreciation of what it is all about and it can only stand us in good stead going forward," Moody added.
"There are a number of areas we need to improve on ahead of the World Cup. Obviously the Ireland game wasn't anywhere near where we wanted to be, but the strides we made during the Championship and Autumn Series have been huge.
"It's a completely different team and it's an exciting time for England. I can't wait!".
Moody, who has been out of action for over two months with a knee ligament injury, is hopeful of returning to action for Bath in time for their Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens on April 3.
His return will be a timely boost for the West Country outfit, who are looking to finish the season with a flourish in order to seal a play-off place.
A mouth-watering showdown with table-toppers Leicester awaits Bath on Sunday, and Moody spoke of his frustration not to be lining up against his former employers.
"I've spent some time getting rehabbed but hopefully I'll be fit next week for Saracens," he confirmed.
"Unfortunately this week has just come too soon. I've missed both the games against Leicester now which is very disappointing for me with them being my old club.
"As a player you want to be involved in the games against your old teams. It's one of those things and I just need to get on with it. The boys will do a great job, we've had a couple of cracking games against Leicester this season so it will be no different at the weekend.
"We're in the business end of the season now and every game is vitally important. The boys are pumped up and excited, as they are for every game.
"Our goal is to finish in the top two so we can get a home draw but at the end of the day you just want to be involved in the play-offs and fighting for the championship trophy."
Bath RFC is one of a series of AVIVA Premiership Rugby clubs working with Gatorade to encourage players of all levels to stay ahead of the game and improve their performance. Lewis Moody and teammates were at Bath's training ground filming a series of coaching videos to be featured online next month. Gatorade is the official hydration partner of the AVIVA Premiership.