Wallabies veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper believes he still has speed to burn, adamant he hasn't lost any pace and halfback Will Genia declaring: "he's still got it".
At 35, it is no secret time is catching up with Ashley-Cooper but selection for a fourth World Cup campaign shows coaching staff feel one of the traits that has underpinned his success has not diminished.
It is unlikely, however, that Ashley-Cooper will start for the Wallabies on the wing like he did in the 2015 tournament, where he scored four tries to take his overall World Cup tally to 11, four adrift of all-time record holders Bryan Habana and Jonah Lomu.
Since his Wallabies debut in 2005 Ashley-Cooper has sliced through defences with his nimble footwork and quick acceleration and despite being close to hanging up the boots at Test level, he - and others more importantly - are happy with what he can still offer as he puts himself in the selection frame for Saturday's first match against Fiji.
"I'm confident in my speed and my game at the moment," Ashley-Cooper said. "Regardless of how old I am, I know I can still contribute in this environment so we'll have to wait and see.
"Dean Benton [Wallabies strength and conditioning coach] is pretty happy at the moment. I think if the coaches are happy, I'm happy. If I get the opportunity in a game, I'll let everyone else be the judge of that."
The man sitting beside him at Monday's press conference, Will Genia, felt the silver fox was still razor sharp.
"He's still got it," Genia said.
Twelve years ago Ashley-Cooper made his World Cup appearance against Japan, scoring a try in a 91-3 victory he remembers fondly.
"[I was] just a young bloke; fat face, short hair, crew cut. I have no idea why I shaved my head, it was an awful look," Ashley-Cooper said. "It's hard to put into words. I remember the emotions and the feelings you go through when you play your first World Cup match but here I am, a couple of World Cups later."
If Ashley-Cooper takes the field in Japan he will join George Gregan as the second Australian to play at four World Cups. He says there is more excitement but fewer nerves this time around.
World Cups go so quickly, so I think as an older player you learn to kind of take every moment as much as you can and be very present and just take it a day at a time.Adam Ashley-Cooper
"There are less nerves and less fear in a way," Ashley-Cooper said. "I remember that World Cup [in my] first game starting on the wing I was really, really nervous. There's a lot of performance anxiety. I think that's just natural for a young bloke stepping into their national team, wanting to perform well on the international stage.
"Now with the amount of Tests I've played and the experience I've been able to gain over a career it's just more about getting excited for big games. This is no doubt the biggest tournament of everyone's career, so it's really exciting.
"[World Cups] go so quickly, so I think as an older player you learn to kind of take every moment as much as you can and be very present and just take it a day at a time."
The New South Welshman has won all four of his Tests against Fiji - two in 2007, one in 2010 and then another in the pool stages at the 2015 World Cup - and says the side's opening game in Sapporo could not come quick enough.
"It's a critical game for us," Ashley-Cooper said. "You really never know what to expect in your first game in a World Cup and particularly against a team like Fiji who can be unpredictable and who have a lot of strengths particularly in that back line.
"[We have] put a lot of focus on our conditioning and our fitness and now since we've been here in Japan. We've just been sharpening the axe. Looking forward to our first hit-out."
- The Age/SMH