The first test team has been selected. A bunch of old hands, a couple of recalls, some changes enforced by retirements, three newbee's on the bench and all the excitement surrounding the All Blacks first match of the season. It's October people. This time last year we were in Japan preparing to play Ireland in the 1/4 finals.
We'd already beaten South Africa in the opener, a win that was meant to guarantee us a certain path to the final. Only Japan went and stuffed that up by beating Ireland then Scotland and going on to win their group.
So we got Ireland leaving the Jaapies to play Japan for a place in the semis.
It also meant we were then on a collision course with England. All this a year ago. When folk say a lot has changed in the past year it almost seems inadequate.
Not just a lot, try the word "everything". Back in March when this thing first erupted we didn't know whether we'd have international rugby at all this year. Repeat that sentence back to yourself a couple of times and maybe the appreciation of just getting a test match here will start to really sink in.
This weekend is one of the greatest sporting moments of the year just because we get some. Sport that is. Test match rugby. In our own stadiums again. With crowds again. It's just like Super Rugby Aotearoa only better. Which also means we can talk about what goes on ON the field fora few days. And hopefully longer still. As important as most of the off-field stuff has been, it becomes largely irrelevant for the next 48hrs or so as kick-off awaits.
With the ghost of Tokyo always lurking in the background, history is being made here with a new coach selecting a newish team under the ever-changing circumstances of this new world in which we live. And I can't help but be bloody excited about it!
So for this weekend at least the administrative arguments can go on hold. The political posturing can take a break. The self-serving agendas of all involved can just wait.
I have nothing profound to say. I just want to see us play.