Here we are with just 52 days to kick-off in Rugby World Cup 2015, and I find myself remarkably …. what?
Compare this something feeling to four years ago. Around about now we were all working ourselves into a 24-carat tizzy. Partly that was because as hosts we were surrounded by preparations, and the doomsayers were having a field day with what was going to go wrong. (It didn’t.)
More, we had that horrible monkey on our backs, of not having won since 1987. A long time between drinks. Parched we were.
I find myself worrying about our lack of worry. It’s as if we’re still drunk on that one point win. And of course we’ve kept sipping a steady stream of victory: still top of the World Rugby rankings. All the silverware in the cupboard.
When I say we, I mean the fans. And the media. We haven’t yet properly taken stock of the mountain ahead of us. Still in the foothills, thinking this is a nice walk in the park. There are people who are still talking up the bolters they’d like to see in the squad, as if an All Black jersey makes anyone fire-proof, so just toss them in the cauldron.
I don’t think for a moment that Shag and Co are complacent. I reckon Shag is looking as sick as a dog actually. He’s been plotting and planning this for so long that the next bit of waiting must be wreaking havoc on his hard heart.
Because he’ll need that hard heart, very soon. By late August he’ll be picking just 31 players, and telling a bunch of good ‘uns the bad news. Have a seat, but keep fit, because you might get a 3am call. No room for sentiment there, just cold eyes on the prize.
It would help if we, the fans, got a bit more serious ourselves. Took a good hard honest look at the strength of the opposition. Figured out that our squad is going to have four weeks of hard training and easy games, which is going to be rubbish preparation for a quarter-final in Cardiff. While the other fellas are growing their momentum.
This is not a gimme, people. We need to get those other two monkeys off our back: sequential Cups, and winning one overseas. They matter if we’re really going to earn the respect we say we want.
Time to embrace our anxious. Because I’ll be damned if I wait another 24 years for a decent drink.