Mailbag time - a chance to answer the many questions about the rugby World Cup that have arrived at this desk. It's hard to believe but there are only 17 days to go before this country begins yet another tortured descent into despair ... oops, I mean begins its long-awaited and triumphant march to secure rugby's Holy Grail.
Have any decent World Cup wallcharts come out yet - it's hard to get that real World Cup feeling until you've got a chart on the wall?
The wallchart industry has been a little slow to react but there are rumoured to be really good ones on the way. Dan Carter is the odds-on favourite as the player most likely to figure as the centrefold on the charts. In fact, industry sources say that any wallchart that doesn't have Dan Carter on it is likely to bomb - a "wall-slider", in industry lingo.
Sione Lauaki is least-favoured centrepiece because it has proved impossible to get Pools A, B and C on the same chart as his hair.
Whether any wallchart is decent or not really depends on your attitude, Bob. It's important to fill it out every day because it's easy to get behind and by about day six Romania and Portugal are already blurring into one and the scores get even more jumbled. Consistency is the key, Bob.
Will the All Blacks choke, and if so would that mean we are a nation of chokers?
Nice to see you identifying with your Air New Zealand Cup district, Mary. Lovely place, Tasman, and it seems to attract a lot of tourists.
Hard to tell on the first question, Mary, but the general rule about our national identity is this: if the All Blacks lose, they are a bunch of soft-arse knuckleheads who get paid too much, but if the All Blacks win, we are a great and glorious rugby nation where every man, woman and child does the latest rugby haka in the lounge and gives thanks for Graham Henry before dinner.
So no, we simply can't be a nation of chokers. It's just not possible. What do you know about Portuguese rugby?
Great question, Dissatisfied. There are terrific, translated websites out there and one from Portugal revealed the following:
* The World Cup is the "Third Bigger Parting Event of the World".
* That a Portuguese team have just been "Convoked for the World-Wide One".
* One of the best convoked teams for the third bigger parting event of the world is Africa of the South.
Beyond that, information is a little hazy but Portugal are unlikely to beat the All Blacks in Pool C. Hope that helps.
What part will referees play at the World Cup?
We've had more than 7000 letters on this one. There are rumours that the referees are on a bottle of wine if they can keep the penalty count under 20 in a match, while they get two bottles of wine if it's over 20. Referees who notch up over 30 penalties a game get their photos posted on the giant screen. Just kidding, guys.
But in all honesty, you probably will notice them quite a bit. Refs who have quiet games tend to go home after the quarter-finals. Expect a strong comeback bid from Paul Honiss, who will brook no lippy nonsense from anyone, including the captain.
He's got some ground to make up after getting a serve from Paddy O'Brien, and players with loose lips will get a right tongue lashing from Paul. There's the tip.
How can we be protected from Stephen Jones during the tournament?
One of the best ways to protect yourself from Stephen Jones is to watch all of England's games. It will make for a wonderful Stephen Jones antidote.
What are your greatest fears for the World Cup?
Linda, Steve and family, Turbo Country.
Hi, guys. The biggest fear, by far, is that Frank Bunce won't have a good time at the World Cup. Because if Frank Bunce isn't having a good time, then no one is and it will officially be a dud tournament. Frank is at the far end of the happy meter and always has been. There are many who believe that Frank Bunce could even have had a good time at the cricket World Cup.
The other fear is that if Frank Bunce is the sideline eye, then there isn't going to be a lot of information flow from down there. Sometimes, you get the impression Frank is having a good time and being the sideline eye at the same time, with the result that a lot of things such as substitutions come and go unobserved, or not observed in the finest of detail.
Great player, but in general there are a lot of generalisations where Frank's commentary is concerned.
There are rumours that England are going to play a more expansive game this time. Any thoughts?
Brigadier Harold Withington-Smythe, The House, The Lane, The Road, Spiffington-on-Bryne, Staffordshire.
I've got two words for you, Harry. Andy Farrell.
What's the latest out of Wales? Has the mood picked up after they destroyed Argentina over the weekend?
Bryn T., Waiheke Island.
Hot off the wires, Bryn. The Welsh coach, Gareth Jenkins, has ordered all former players to stop slinging mud at the team via their newspaper columns, which has inspired the former players to throw more mud at him.
Apart from all former players, a couple of million fans and some of the team, the mood seems to be quite buoyant over there. I've been absolutely beside myself over the past couple of days after suffering recurring nightmares that involve Matt Dunning kicking a winning drop goal against us in the World Cup final. I know it's not going to happen and I know we're going to win the cup, but just in case we don't - and I know it is a tiny just - is there counselling for that sort of thing? Should we form support groups in case we lose? Not that we're going to, of course!
Coming from Dunedin, Wayne, you should be used to losing, but really, get a grip. If the worst does come to the worst, try the new age approach - it's not about winning, it's about taking part.
And there are many facets to a World Cup besides the game. It's a brotherhood of man and you'll get to find out all sorts of interesting things to do with places like Romania and Portugal. For instance, did you know that Romania supplements its power supply with nuclear energy. Fascinating, isn't it?
Why are Australia so confident about their chances?
Gary, Steelers Country.
It's a smokescreen, Gary. Deep down, they are an insecure lot, but they hide it with bravado and by winning a lot of things.
Who's going to win the World Cup?
Dave, Magpies Country.
Hi, Dave. Australia, for the simple reason that John O'Neill is back. Africa of the South would be my other pick. I suspect that the All Blacks will choke because of strange convoking, mad referees and the fact that they are useless, overpaid b*&^$ @ when it comes to the World Cup.