By next Saturday it will be all on, the supreme carnival of rugby. The magnificent, infuriating, fascinating, exhilarating four-yearly moment of truth for our best national product. Already nothing else seems to matter.
The All Blacks' arrival made a splash in Japan this week. They're better known than rugby there. When you mention you're from New Zealand it's the one thing you hear. "Ah! All Blacks!" They know the haka too.
I don't know how they know these things. Sport in Japanese media begins and ends with baseball. Rugby gets about as much attention as softball receives here. Yet the All Blacks were already our national brand when I lived there for a year. That was before the professional era, long before Steve Hansen made them more successful than ever.
We're about to witness the final chapter in rugby's most remarkable story since, well, since the last one when Graham Henry was given another chance to win the World Cup. But Hansen lifted the game to even greater heights with the pace at which his teams played.
I hope this story ends well, which should not require a third successive World Cup. I dare hope the Henry-Hansen era has made us more mature, more secure in the pride we can have in the world's most successful sporting team without it winning everything.
Knock-out tournaments were invented precisely to ensure the best did not necessarily win. Rugby followers in other countries watch a World Cup with heightened interest because one team, just possibly theirs, might upset the All Blacks.
This is also the final chapter in the strangest All Black career I have seen. It is 10 years since Sonny Bill Williams, a rising star of rugby league, signed on for rugby union. He is now one of just three All Blacks at their third World Cup.
The others, Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock, have each played more than 100 games for the country. Williams has played 53. And many of those have been off the bench at previous World Cups.
At his first, 2011 in New Zealand, he seemed annoyed he was not in the starting team. When he got on the field late in the semifinal against Australia he immediately flew at his opponent with a shoulder charge and was ordered off.
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In the tight, tense final against France, he was kept on the bench until Ma'a Nonu was exhausted with just five minutes to go. Afterwards, when a euphoric Auckland held a victory parade for the team Williams was the only one not there.
Between World Cups Williams has disappeared for long periods. In 2013 he went back to Sydney to play in the NRL for two years, which was a pity because he had begun to develop a good combination with Aaron Cruden at the Chiefs.
Returning for the 2015 Cup, Williams played the second half of the final, replacing Conrad Smith, who was visibly furious at being subbed off after creating the All Blacks' first try.
With Nonu and Smith both retiring that year the selectors seemed to have a clear idea of their next midfield pairing. Williams would finally be the starting second five and outside him, Ryan Crotty, who is capable just about anywhere in the backline but at centre he had been sublime in Smith's absence once or twice.
Unfortunately, the following year Williams decided to play sevens to go to the Rio Olympics. There he was injured and disappeared for the bulk of the season. So it was, over the next few years.
One of the marvels of professional rugby has been rapid recovery from injuries. Advances in sports medicine have enabled players to bounce back in a matter of weeks. Not Williams. When he left the field he was not seen again for months.
In his absence, Crotty became the regular second five. He has suffered for his versatility. Both the Crusaders and the All Blacks play him at 12 to make room for the solid Jack Goodhue, a specialist centre.
Another suffering that curse is Anton Lienert-Brown, whose best position appears to be second five where he has been outstanding for the Chiefs this season. I'd love to see him at 12 and Crotty at 13 in the World Cup.
Who knows what midfield combination the selectors now have in mind? It's the one area of the team that remains unsettled on the eve of the tournament and it's a crucial one against the stifling defences the All Blacks will face.
But if opponents have been banking on SBW too, they might be surprised. That would be some return for NZ Rugby's hefty investment and extraordinary patience.