"After a three-month hiatus the great game of rugby union is back on your screens."
Thus spoke Sky Sport's Grant Nisbett, the broadcasting veteran whose mere presence as the main caller of Super Rugby Aotearoa's opening match between the Highlanders and Chiefs in Dunedin played in front of more than 20,000 spectators made lounge rooms across New Zealand complete again.
Actually, make that lounges around the world because this was the first time a professional rugby match had been played in a stadium since the coronavirus pandemic took hold and changed everything for good, and the regular references to the international audience left viewers in no doubt as to the significance of the occasion.
It has been 84 days since we last saw a Super Rugby match on New Zealand soil. There must have been nerves and worries about a lack of match fitness ahead of an historic match beamed to rugby-starved supporters around the world and yet Nisbett, Jeff Wilson and Justin Marshall took to it with the calm assurance of seasoned professionals.
Tone was important here because while the return of New Zealand's national game represents another step towards normality for a nation which has kicked Covid-19 into touch, there was no triumphalism and very little frivolity; not even a trademark "Boomfa" from former All Blacks halfback Marshall.
If the avuncular Nisbett is the nation's favourite uncle, Marshall is the occasionally mischievous younger brother, but he played it as straight as he could – perhaps knowing that pacing oneself may be important at the start of an intensive 10-week competition featuring only New Zealand teams or indeed that while the nation has apparently been Covid-free for 22 days, 22 lives have been lost along the way.
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In the end, while the teams contrived to give up a combined 30 penalties (17 from the Highlanders) as they struggled to comply with the new law applications (many were for offsides, although the Highlanders also incurred two yellow cards for dangerous tackles), the finish in front of an increasingly boisterous crowd put a little more gloss on it.
"Happy? Happy? We've got three happys," referee Paul Williams said in ruling Anton Lienert-Brown's late try a fair one for the Chiefs. We certainly did. Wilson, the former All Blacks wing and third voice on the team, delivered his bon mots in front of the "Zoo" in the build-up to a highly-anticipated match won 28-27 by the Highlanders after Bryn Gatland kicked a dropped goal from nearly 40m out to severely disappoint his dad Warren, the coach of the opposition, and the majority of the crowd would have streamed out of Forsyth Barr Stadium intent on continuing the celebrations.
"Drama in the first match," intoned Nisbett, sagely. "And disappointment in the Chiefs room."
He was right of course, but the final and perhaps most poignant and perfect summary of the entire situation belonged to new Highlanders recruit Nehe Milner-Skudder, who suggested in a pre-filmed interview before kick-off that "we're all fortunate and blessed to be in New Zealand at the moment".
And as the crowd stood to applaud the representatives of the essential workers standing on the pitch beforehand and the exhausted players - lungs burning after an 80-minute slog under the roof that must have been a shock to the system - shook hands and embraced - physical distancing be damned - after a thrilling finish, it was very difficult to disagree with him.