I was at Eden Park on 23 October 2011, along with 61,078 others and, thankfully, the All Blacks who had indeed turned up for the occasion.
That was a moment, a mere moment mind you, of relief and exultation and weightless wonder such as I’d never thought to exist.
The All Blacks, pushed forward in those last anxious minutes by the will of millions, had righted the planet. A galaxy that had been tipped sideways for twenty long years by five inexplicable World Cup failures had finally – Finally! – been heaved back into order by a massive collective holding of breath.
It was a moment, for me, that did not last out even that one night, because a whisper of chill reached in and murmured “What about 2015?”
The truth is that to live with the All Blacks is to live with constant fear.
Glory and triumph, yes of course and often, but fear too. Fear above all, because of that sly voice at your shoulder incessantly murmuring “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!”.
Here is where we contemplate our fragile mortality. A mere 500 days to kick-off in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. Do I have it in me to get back in training, lose the weight, attend to the skills, and pull on the boots for 16 long months of risking everything in the pursuit of passion? Because I know they cannot do it without me.
MrsDavy, who is otherwise unimpeachable in all things and at all times, thinks I lay it on a bit thick. But she’s never had her face pushed into the mud at the bottom of a ruck, or thrilled to the smell of liniment, or waited for the crunch of the tackle. This is metaphysics, baby, not diversion.
So yes, yes and yes again. It’s time to face the fear, look at it without flinching, and stare it down. We must ponder and plot and diet and exercise our way to an historic consecutive Tin Billy.
2015. In England.
Tihei mauri ora!