Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, surprised media with his open-ness at Tuesday’s media conference at the team’s Tokyo Bay hotel as final week kicked off in earnest.
“The big thing is that we’ve only got two days of training sessions so not a lot will change,” said Erasmus.
“I guess you can expect pretty much the same from us on Saturday. With 160 minutes of training in a six-day turnaround, there’s not a lot you can do in those training sessions.
“The team will be the same 23 with Cheslin Kolbe being one of the guys that will probably come into the matchday 23,” he said.
“We believe that’s the way we can get the best out of our team and get longevity from the forwards in terms of a six-day turnaround. But we also believe it’s our most fit, in-form, best available, and best combination team we can pick.”
Erasmus was as clear-sighted on the challenge posed by England – quickly installed as favourites by pundits and neutral observers alike.
“What I am expecting on the field is a very well-coached England team; a fit England team with a great tactical plan,” he said.
“The physicality that England brought to New Zealand last week was next level. I thought it was a long time since I’ve seen an England team pitch up with that amount of physicality.
“They must be brimming with confidence and I’m sure they’re ready to bring that same intensity to us. We will have to be really up to try and match that.”