You can’t accuse Eddie Jones of not putting his money where his mouth is. The England boss has preached of the 31-man effort that it will take in Japan, yet this match against the United States was when those words would be truly put to the test.
As it is, Jones will back up his words with his actions. All available players in the squad will have featured across the two games so far at the Rugby World Cup if Jack Singleton and Mark Wilson come off the bench against the USA on Thursday, which given the four-day turnaround imposed on the squad is highly likely.
But while there could be justification for Jones, there is an equal amount of risk.
Three of the five players retained from the victory over Tonga played 80 minutes on Sunday, just four days before the USA fixture. Joe Marler and George Ford, the other two players backing up, played 50 and 68 minutes respectively, and with five of the replacements also having featured in that match, there is a danger that this physically proves too much an ask.
There is also the issue surrounding what these fresh players go out and do. For a number of them, they know that if a team for the World Cup final was picked tomorrow, they would not feature. That’s why tomorrow’s match may prove so important to their individual hopes of putting their hand up and impressing Jones.
But the Australia has a particular way of being impressed, and it is not about players going out as individuals and trying to steal the show.
“That’s the danger for us,” Jones said. “It can happen in the second or the third game where guys – and I’ve seen it with South Africa playing against Tonga in 2007 – players who might think it’s their only game of the World Cup so they go out there and they try to play for themselves rather than play for the team.
“We were lucky to beat them. A number of guys played outside the team and played for themselves, so one of the most important things in this game is that the players play for the team, and if they play for the team they put themselves in a better selection mix.
“The World Cup’s not a sprint. No one remembers how well you play in the first two rounds, everyone remembers how well you play at the end of the tournament and the key is to be in your best condition at the end of the tournament. So we want to be better against the USA than we were against Tonga, but that’s the only caveat we have on this.”
With the USA preparing for their opening game of the tournament after a pre-tournament trying camp on the island of Okinawa – 2,000km away from when England prepared in Miyazaki – they will be raring to go, having been forced to wait the longest of any nation to get their campaign underway.
What defines US rugby? The Eagles will not get the big billing of pride and passion that Tonga got because they do not have a reputation of physicality that goes before them – which is in a way unfair as Test rugby across the board these days is just as physical as the next game.
What the USA do bring for the first time though is professionalism. The creation and expansion of Major League Rugby in the States means that for the first World Cup, every member of the squad plays professional rugby.
"US players have grown over the last two years,” said American No 8 Cam Dolan. “A full-time training environment is massive. We had some guys only training on maybe a Wednesday and Thursday ... working an accounting job or looking after families at the same time.
"You can train all day, but if you don’t have that match experience, you don’t have the fitness, especially on an international level."
With the USA two places higher in the World Rugby rankings than Tonga, England cannot afford to take them lightly. Normally, Jones’s squad selection would suggest they are doing exactly that, but with the short turnaround – shorter than any England have had to face at a World Cup – it is the smart play, yet only as smart as a gamble can possibly be. If England do slip up, it will be Jones’s stake on the line.