We are in for a week of this. A week of a strange combination of hand wringing and chest thumping. A week of wondering which France will turn up, a strange question that assumes other countries are uniformly consistent. A week of a nation talking to itself unconvincingly about how we are over a rugby match played eight years ago and we should Bring it on.
And the more you hear it, the more you know that New Zealand is not over its loss to France in the Quarter Final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Some of the narrative will be how this team is not like the other team, some will be about perceived benefits of not wearing a grey shirt (seriously) and then there is the referee.
In reality, we can agree that there will never be closure around that match. If a somewhat flaky World Cup final win over the same opponent does not bring closure nothing will.
Wayne Barnes. Fortunately he looked a bit cross-eyed when he showed Luke McAllister that yellow card, so that makes him look a bit deranged which is ideal when stirring up fear.
With Graham Henry and his mouthpieces leading the charge on wondering whether Barnes will be in charge there is a pretty obvious sub-text of it was all the ref’s fault. Of course Barnes has been one of the best referees at this World Cup, but why let the facts get in the way of a decent beat-up. He is also English.
The refereeing at Cardiff had little to do with that result, and even if New Zealand had progressed they were not going to lift the cup that year.
Remember Nonu was not part of the 2007 World Cup squad because Graham Henry thought he was not a nice person. Nothing sums up the batshit crazy nature of that campaign better than that.
The real danger for the All Blacks is the downstream consequences of this hype. They may well go out and put in the performance of the tournament, and smash the French. They might play it like a final. They might get a lot of frustration out of the system. And then the following week they will need to back up against the Springboks.
Meanwhile, hasn’t the draw opened up nicely for the Wallabies? The softest of quarter finals against Scotland followed by a semi-final against the winner of the Argentina vs a depleted Ireland game.