Joe Schmidt wants his Ireland team to be competitive in Saturday's World Cup warm-up clash with England but admits the bigger picture is more important than the result.
The Kiwi's side have been in warm-weather training in Portugal and he admits Eddie Jones' men might be slightly sharper at Twickenham having played twice (lost to and beat Wales) to Ireland's single game against Italy.
"You've got to play the long game. There is only one tournament this year we have to go after," said Schmidt.
"Saturday is a Test match against an old foe and they will be up for it. They've had two Test matches already. A lot of our players haven't played yet. They have a little bit of an advantage there. They have freshened up a bit, they had a couple of days off at the start of the week.
"They are probably a little bit ahead of us in terms of their preparation but, your timing, you want to make sure that you periodise it right so that we are on an upswing by the time we get to that 22 September game (v Scotland).
"So a 24 August game comes a distant second. If we're carrying a little bit of fatigue in the legs on Saturday, I'll accept that.
"We want to be really competitive but if this last eight days is good preparation for 22 September then that's what counts most."
While Schmidt is willing to make allowances for tiredness, he warns against players trying to avoid what could be a costly injury ahead of the trip to Japan.
"One of the things we have got to be absolutely committed to is going as hard as we can, because invariably, when you start trying to look after yourself, you get the timing wrong, you're a little bit hesitant and that's when you can pick up something you would rather not have."
Ireland have been training in temperatures of up to 36 degrees in the Algarve, something Schmidt hopes will be good preparation for Japan, which has been hot and humid this week, just over four weeks ahead of the tournament kick-off.
"We are getting quite close and there are still some extraordinary temperatures in Tokyo at the moment," he said.
"That's something I'm sure World Rugby are keeping an eye on as much as us, it wouldn't surprise me if they implement water breaks in those early-round games after 20 minutes. It is in the player welfare code once the humidity and temperature get particularly high.
"We did it when we were in Japan last time. We have played at the peak of the Japan summer. I think that investment in 2017 is a real positive for us because a lot of the players who are with us now have experienced that.
"Being here (Portugal), it's very very warm. The humidity is probably the thing that we haven't had, it's been quite dry heat but there has been a lot of it.
"We've trained in the middle of the day, later in the day, we've mixed it up and the players have got through it really well. That's all you can do, prepare as best you can and see what happens."