Saturday: Watch quarter-finals. No option. Could be something for Friday. Wales and Ireland first. Dylan Thomas vs Oscar Wilde. And George Bernard Shaw? No, he'd have some elegantly contrary reason for disapproving. Like both teams but expect Welsh to win. And they do. Imagine Dad cheering in the fan zone hereafter. He loved being Welsh. And the singing. Used to join in, with his big vicar's voice, full volume. Expect subeditors will have a field day on Monday - Gatland's guns blast Irish; All Leeks, no Potatoes; Welsh go gently into next good fight.
No, probably not. We don't do poetry any more. Like what the Welsh captain says in after-match interview. "Full credit to us," he says. "We deserved this win." Good on you, Sam. Honest pride trumps false modesty any day.
Later, French do what's expected, ie, the unexpected. Beat Poms. Not too surprising. They look like traction engines in shorts. Thought occurs, if the World Cup was a movie, there'd be an All Black, France final. Fearful symmetry, history repeating, all that stuff. Chastise self for tempting fate. Even thinking such thoughts could disrupt the secret order of the cosmos. Go to bed, telling self it's only a game.
Watch last two quarter-finals. Springboks could have won, should have won. Wayne Barnes would've missed that forward pass. Bryce Lawrence didn't miss anything - unless the Aussies were doing it. Commentators can't work out what he's doing. Or why. Who can? Rugby rules more bewildering than quantum physics. Poor old Bryce. One minute, he's Lawrence of Euphoria, next he's Lawrence of Dystopia.
We won the other game. Ripper! Hoping it would be 60, 70, 80-nil but the experts say that doesn't happen any more. The big thing, according to them, is "we kept our powder dry". Just as well, because now we're playing the Aussies, meaning the semifinal's a final. Console self by comparing tackle count in quarters. Still feel knot in stomach tighten. Tell self again it's only a game. It doesn't matter. Yes it does! self yells back. Make notes about inner conflict for column. Radio says Rena still on reef. Odd. Thought it would have floated off by now.
6am news quotes politician saying "environmental disaster inevitable the moment ship hit reef". They're preparing us for the worst. But the whole Herald front page is Piri Weepu so it can't be too bad.
At the Springbok press conference, Peter de Villiers sticks it to the journalists who've mocked him. Good on you, sir. Someone asks what his coaching goal was. He says, "I wanted to be the best me that I could be." So should all of us. Put that on your T-shirt, world. Being "the best me I could be" is what everyone should be. Decide to say so on Friday.
TV shows oil on Tauranga beaches. Big blobs of goo that seem easy to pick up. At least, in that respect, every glob has a silver lining. Local people angry. They're being told not to touch the stuff. The cult of caution strikes again. Bureaucracy's first instinct is always to cover its own butt. They don't know how to think with their hearts. Or, more to the point, other people's.
A man on the wireless says he emailed Maritime New Zealand last week, for heaven's sake, offering two giant inflatable barges into which oil from the Rena could be pumped. He was shipping them to England but he'd keep them here if Maritime NZ wanted them. Except they hadn't told him. In fact, they hadn't told him anything. Silence on the crisis front. TV news has another "no reply" story about a Christchurch company offering wool booms to soak up the oil. Once again, Maritime NZ's phone was off the hook. Resignations, anyone?
The captain's in court and the ship's breaking up. Another b****y disaster here. If things were fair, the world would ration its catastrophes, share them round. Well, actually, it does. There's awful flooding in Thailand. And Pakistan. But the Rena's here. And we can't stop the slow motion calamity its careless course has caused. If life's a beach, it's also a mess.
No 1 son rings from Canada. He'll be watching on Sunday, at 3.30 in the morning. He's got stats. The All Blacks win 91 per cent of their home games. Great! He's reckons Wales will win 'cos they're the only team whose halfback has a surname ending with a consonant. Weepu. Genia. Phillips. Yashvili. Sounds as good as any other theory, Dave. He'll ring during the game, so we can share the joy. Or the pain. Feel knot in stomach tighten again.
Reef. Rugby. Rugby. Reef. Disaster or game. Which? Objectively, the game's not important. Yes it is!! Not least because of the disaster. Everything we are is tied up in this match. That's why, come Sunday, there will be a stadium of four million. Cheering our hearts out. There's been too much bad news lately. 80 minutes and 15 All Blacks can change that.
And if you don't understand, you don't live here.