TOKYO – Every selection, every opponent, every training camp - just about every decision Eddie Jones has made in the last two and a half years - has been geared towards 5pm Yokohama time on Oct. 26, when England face New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals.
As soon as the May 2017 draw was complete, Jones knew England and the All Blacks were on a likely collision course in the last four and that if he were achieve his stated goal of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, he would have to get past them first.
As probably the most dominant international team in all sport, the All Blacks are a hurdle not many have overcome. They are seeking an unprecedented third successive title and have not lost a World Cup match since France shocked them in the quarter-finals 12 years ago.
The numbers hardly look any better for England when they assess their own record against New Zealand - seven wins from 41 games and only one victory, in 2012, in the last 16.
But they go into Saturday's titanic clash full of confidence and truly believing they have the depth and variety to unseat the favourites and reach the final for the first time since losing to South Africa in 2007.