You're going to hear a lot about 1995, 2007, etc
Remember when we used to dread world cups? Compare and contrast your emotional equilibrium this morning, and in say 2002. Or 2008. It's easy to forget what a monumental flan we used to make of this tournament. For a team that dominates rugby like us, it's actually inconceivable we've only won the thing three times, and we only really got good at it when we grew up just a little and showed faith in Graham Henry (and Steve Hansen).
We're going to worry about teams we shouldn't worry about
The All Blacks are such massive favourites that some betting sites run 'without New Zealand' odds. But that doesn't mean you and your neighbours won't be kept awake at night dreaming about English dropkicks, Australian intercepts and Irish people dancing in pubs.
Everything Steve Hansen says is going to be analysed to death
In his dual roles as national coach and pub comedian Bhudda to the nation, Hansen has at least 30 people listening to his every utterance at all times. He doesn't give much away, so everything he *does* say is endlessly picked over. Expect to see breathless pieces to camera and breaking news alerts everytime he orders the ramen.
Rugby will be on for ages
The world cup final happens on November 2. Today is September 20. Yes, it's important to include developing nations in your showpiece tournament (cough, cricket, cough), but that means we're going to be at this for some time. Unlike netball, who seem to play their world cup over the course of an afternoon.
People are going to be unhappy with Spark
Like a papal obituary, stories will have already written about people mucking around behind their TVs minutes before kick-off, angry comments in Facebook pages and people having problems watching on a dial-up connection. Spark were very brave taking this on, and will have to cop it for all kinds of things that are beyond their control. Streaming is great for admiring Scandinavian drama knitwear on Netflix, but can be hit and miss for watching live sporting events on a little island at the bottom of the Pacific, especially when all your neighbours are watching too. Let patience and perspective be your watchwords.
It's all going to be all right
I've quite enjoyed our buildup being disrupted by players being out of form and injured. It feels like our coaches are doing some coaching, rather than rocking up with a hubris-based game plan. Fair play for swapping out the back three weeks out from the tournament, and playing a horses for courses midfield. Yes, playing guys out of position gives me the shits, but history will judge if it's a genius 4D chess move, or something that could cost Ian Foster his 'All Black coach designate' seat. The team we've named for South Africa is pretty amazing, and Retallick is yet to come back. I'll take that.
Thanks for reading - Richard