TOKYO, 30 Oct - Rassie Erasmus was not playing mind games. What would be the point?
In alluding to a little-changed 23 for Saturday's World Cup final against England, the Springboks head coach was as direct off the field as his players are on it.
Playing a straight bat, as his counterpart, the cricket-mad Eddie Jones, would appreciate.
A British journalist, perhaps more used to Jones's machinations, asked whether he was trying to pull a fast one on England. "No, not bluffing," Erasmus replied.
"It will probably be exactly the same, with Cheslin Kolbe being one of the guys who will probably come into the match-day 23."
In confirming the winger, pictured above in training on Tuesday, had recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of the semi-final victory over Wales, Erasmus said that the shorter six-day turnaround would not allow him to change his tactics or team.
"The big thing is that we've got only 160 minutes of training. Sixty minutes of team training, 40-60 minutes of split training between the forwards and backs.
"So not a lot will change. I guess you can expect very much the same from us on Saturday.
"If it was a seven-day or eight-day turnaround, I would probably change a few things, might be one or two new starter moves or something like that, but there is not a hell of a lot in your tactics that you can change in six days."
The 47-year-old Erasmus, who played in 36 tests for South Africa but has never previously been head coach at a World Cup, admitted that "the pressure is on".
On his watch, the Boks have progressed from a 50 per cent win record in 2018 to the Rugby Championship title this year, and are now one match away from a third Webb Ellis Cup.
But their style of rugby has not always been aesthetically pleasing for fans - the reliance on box kicks and a swarming defence - leading to criticisms that they are boring. This does not faze Erasmus.
"If one understands where we've been coming from, being No.6, 7 or 8 in the world, we've got certain challenges. One of them was always to redeem ourselves and become a power again in world rugby, and try to get to No.1 and 2.
"By doing that, you have to have some building blocks in place, and we've followed a certain route, and played according to the stats and the way the game is being refereed currently and what gives you good results in the short term, and on the scoreboard.
"We certainly accept that there are some things in the game that we have to improve, and we take it on the chin. But we feel that we have put ourselves in a position to maybe win the World Cup, and we are in the final.
"Yes, we accept the criticism, but we are also happy that we are in the position to compete for a World Cup final, which is where we ultimately want to be."