Get excited and be prepared to fight for the jersey - those are coach Glenn Moore's final messages to his players as they prepare to begin their Super 14 season with a game against the Reds in Brisbane tonight.
Elves are light-footed, pointy-eared creatures who live in mystical lands and prance delicately through the trees. ELVs are slightly more complicated and may have a massive impact on the once-simple game of rugby.
It was certainly some sort of year. The Bulls shucked off the memories of their horrible early days in the Super 12 by winning an all-South African final against the Sharks, and the Springboks romped to a second World Cup title in France without having to play the All Blacks, the Wallabies or the host nation.
Call it the resumption of normal service. There is no reconditioning plan to disrupt the New Zealand teams in the Super 14 and it seems highly likely the trophy could return to these shores as a result.
Southland's next All Black. Future All Black captain. The next big thing. They are big expectations. But Jamie Mackintosh is a big boy with big dreams, and he has been handling the spotlight with aplomb since it first fell on his ample frame when he was wearing a Southland Boys High School 1st XV jersey.
It is a horrible cliche in sport but 2008 represents the very definition of a fresh start for the Highlanders.
Craig Newby, Hoani MacDonald and Aaron Bancroft will be missing when the Highlanders play the Reds on Friday night but Steven Setephano and James Wilson are rated possible starters.
Pre-season is a time of phoney war but today's game against the Blues will offer an invaluable gauge on just how far the Highlanders have come in their pursuit of Super 14 improvement.
Rugby World Cup 2011 boss Martin Snedden says he is ‘‘comfortable'' with the length of time it is taking to investigate the building of a new stadium in Dunedin, and will not speculate on the city's involvement with the tournament.
A handful of spicy individual clashes will highlight the Highlanders internal trial at Weston Oval near Oamaru tomorrow.
Otago rugby's dire financial situation will again be laid bare when it posts another significant loss, possibly more than $1 million, at its annual meeting next month.
Steven Setephano loves his hog.
North otago rugby folk are preparing to open their arms to the Highlanders - and to one of their favourite sons.