OPINION: I write on a delicate matter.
It is this. We dinkum love you people. For gawd's sake, stop worrying so much about your World Cup semifinal match against the Wallabies tomorrow night in Auckland. How do we know you're anxious? Because your collective knee-knocking and teeth-gnashing have been keeping our children awake across the ditch.
Look, we all know that the three great traditions of rugby are tossing the coin before the match, giving three cheers for the ref afterwards and the All Blacks crashing and burning in the World Cup semifinals. (A tradition you only missed last time because you flamed out in the quarterfinals.) And it is true that the All Blacks have never beaten the Wallabies in World Cup encounters, suffering famous defeats in 1991 and 2003.
We are in agreement that in the absence of your champion injured fly-half, Daniel Carter, the two blokes who have taken over are more anonymous than wrong numbers and the rest of the back line now look like lost orphans. And all right, you've got us - we cannot argue that while the Wallabies back-rower David Pocock turned in the performance of his life last week, your own champion, Richie McCaw, has a crook foot and looks to be the ghost of Christmases past in football boots.
We Australians do understand all these things. We also recognise that last week the All Blacks struggled to put away a relatively lowly team like Argentina while our blokes played a shocker against the titleholders, the Springboks, and still managed to put the brutes to the sword with a compelling, comprehensive and conclusive ... two-point victory.
And on that subject, you don't have to tell me that ever since the All Blacks won their sole World Cup victory, back in the inaugural tournament of 1987, when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, it is the team that has beaten the incumbent world champions that has gone on to win the Cup.
As a matter of fact, we know that because the Wallabies have done it twice, beating your lot in 1991 - or did we mention that already? - and the Boks in 1999.
Please don't be haunted by the fact that the bloke you decided wasn't good enough to coach the All Blacks after their disastrous quarterfinals dismissal in 2007, our very own Robbie Deans, is now the architect of the Wallabies resurgence this year into winning the Tri-Nations and threatening in this World Cup.
Australians don't want to focus on such things. We barely talk about them at all, honest we don't. The point is that whatever happens, we implore you, in the silent watch of the night, when you're staring at the cracks in the ceiling, don't let any of the above factors creep up on you, get their fingers and then their hands round your throat, start to tighten ... and make you CHOKE!
For you guys are like our beloved brothers and sisters and, though we do love beating you in sport, it is not quite with the same savage joy we love beating the Americans in a few things and the Poms in everything.
And always remember this. Over every four-year period, everyone knows that you have the finest rugby team on earth for three years and 50 weeks. Is it really so bad if we Australians snatch a fortnight, here and there?
It's only a game.
Enjoying your lovely nation, as we speak,
P.S. On the off-chance you do win, you'll have all of Australia behind you for the final.
- Sydney Morning Herald