The Rugby World Cup is here as the best teams on the planet go head-to-head in the pursuit of the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Sky Sports commentator Miles Harrison will be in New Zealand for the next six weeks to watch the biggest games and to follow the competition from start to finish.
And he'll bring you a flavour of the tournament in his regular online diary, right here on skysports.com.
In Part III, Miles Harrison finds out who is public enemy No 1 in New Zealand and kicks back with Ian Jones and Justin Marshall.
Day 8 - Monday 12th
Another day, another crack of dawn get-up and another flight - but this is a flight with a difference. My destination is Queenstown. Now, over the years, I've just about covered the whole of New Zealand during my touring days but the big gap in the places that have been ticked off is Queenstown, arguably New Zealand's top spot.
It is my intention to holiday in New Zealand here one day, and my wife, Helen, and daughter, Isla, are very keen on the idea too! Sadly, World Cups fall in term time but we'll find a time soon I hope because, as I found out, this is a place well worth a visit.
The flight into Queenstown doesn't disappoint. The plane makes its descent through the mountains as if a passageway has been carved through the rock. For a nervous flyer, it would not be the best but it's beautiful and I can't get enough of the view from the window. You just know it is going to be a majestic place when you touchdown. And, talking of touchdowns, the dust has about settled on Ben Young's vital score and England's performance in general over that hectic first weekend.
My initial task today is to do a piece with some England fans - they have come to Queenstown for the helicopter rides, the bungee jumping and the craic in general... and they get my microphone pushed under their noses! To a man, they are still bullish, yet, relieved that England got to their victory target. Overall, though, as you would expect, they are convinced that there are better things to come.
Next, I interview the Sunday Times Rugby Correspondent, Stephen Jones. Stephen has become a controversial figure here in New Zealand on account of some of the things he has written about New Zealand and its rugby over the years. In fact, he was recently voted one of the most hated men in the country! Referee, Wayne Barnes, though, is right up there on the list and I am told that at one bar in Queenstown there is a urinal decorated with pictures of the two men at which you can direct your displeasure!
We set up for the interview at a lovely little café restaurant called the Bath House. The water laps onto the shore and our table, complete with the obligatory bottle of red, looks out over the lake to the Remarkables, the mountains that dominate every vista in Queenstown. I consider Stephen a friend, having worked alongside him on the rugby circuit now for twenty years or so.
Stephen goes back even further than that and I believe he is one of the few hacks working today who has attended every Rugby World Cup in a working capacity. His experience is second to none and his excellent writing over the years has always sparked debate.
Today, though, it is my task to put him on the spot - Stephen doesn't mind that; if anyone knows what the trade is all about it is him and he answers with his usual frankness and honesty. He says that he has been besieged by interview requests ever since his arrival in New Zealand but this is the one interview he is going to do. In that sense, it feels like a bit of a scoop and I am very grateful - the Sky NZ office seems delighted with the chance to be the ones to run the piece.
Jon the cameraman has done another stunning job in setting the piece and the editing takes much of the evening. I'm delighted with the end result but even more delighted to hit the sack. I really need to watch the re-run on Sky Sports of Australia versus Italy but that has to wait, the eyes feel too heavy.
Day 9 - Tuesday 13th
First thing, I take advantage of Sky's re-run service and watch Ireland versus USA over breakfast. I'm really impressed with the States as once again, the World Cup proves that it is a competition that can transform teams. Ireland though still don't look right. Their Australia game is fast approaching and the time to get their mojo back is therefore fast receding. But, I've got no time to hang around, or should that be 'snow' time, as the white stuff starts to fall.
In front of me is a drive to Invercargill to see the Georgians train before my commentary on the Scotland match the following day. There is snow forecast en route and the drive will take me through the hills. I check that the mobile is fully charged and have a quick look to see how the snow chains work! Having said that, anybody who knows me will be well aware that I've got all on to change a wheel, let alone attach a set of chains. I get away with it though; there's sleet on the way but nothing too serious and it is a lovely drive. Another example why a visit to New Zealand on holiday is a must.
When I get to Invercargill, my second visit of the tournament to the city, it is cold - bitter in fact. In the Scotland news conference, Gregor Townsend talks of how his team have to combat the Georgian power upfront. A look at Georgia train confirms their potential in that department; they look very physical and very organised in the pack. I chat with the former Australian defence coach, John Muggleton, and the ex-Gloucester back, Don Caskie, who are charged with working on Georgia's defence and attack.
Both men confirm that the task is all about trying to encourage the Georgian players to move away from a game dominated by just the forwards. But, as the freezing rain drives in, it is easy to see why Georgia feel more than a tinge of optimism for this game - the conditions look set to suit them. It's good to catch up with Richie Dixon, the former Scotland coach and now the boss of Georgia. I've not seen Richie for a few years and he's clearly delighted to be working with these men. I leave Rugby Park thinking that Scotland have got their work cut out here... tomorrow could be an extremely interesting day.
Day 10 - Wednesday 14th
The rain lashes down during the night and Scotland's job might just have got harder. But, the day itself is not too bad - there is a general clearing of the sky and Scottish supporters sigh with relief. More rain is forecast for the game but not of the same intensity.
As it turns out, Scotland never really look like losing. They find Georgia hard to put away with their ambition not being matched by their execution but they more than match the Georgians upfront. The players involved in this game give Andy Robinson some clear selection indications for the forthcoming matches against Argentina and England. I have to say, it's not the greatest game to call - with the use of the boot and the lack of tries - but Scotland leave Invercargill with their target of nine points, job done.
It is obvious that they will have to improve as the cutting edge that was evident at the top and tail against Romania on Saturday has gone but the emphasis on forward improvement and, of course, the win does give Andy Robinson some reasons to smile as he bids farewell to Invercargill. For Scotland, there's now an eleven day gap to Argentina to get their minds and bodies right - and for yours truly it is off to Auckland to watch Russia against the USA in the Sky NZ studio.
Day 11 - Thursday 15th
The United States do it again and record their second win of the tournament. I have to say I have been wrong as far as they are concerned. When I saw them ship over 100 points against the Saxons in the summer, I thought they would be on a hiding to nothing at the World Cup but, with the influx of a few, but not too many, old experienced faces, the States have managed to put up a great show early on here in New Zealand.
The match is billed as the battle of the superpowers but the world has moved on from those days and this is much more about two rugby nations with big ambitions. The IRB have already said that it is a matter of 'when', not 'if', the World Cup goes to America. Russia, with their massive population, are bound to grow their player base in the years to come given the time and money now being put into the game. Watch out for the Russians over the next decade or so. They could also mount a challenge to host the Rugby World Cup one day, having had the experience of the soccer World Cup in 2018.
The game shows that Kingsley Jones' Russia are moving in the right direction but still have a way to go. For Northampton fans, it is frustrating as their new winger, Vasily Artemyev, never really has a run. I am looking forward to Artemyev up against 'Zee' Ngwenya, the USA flyer, but it never quite transpires. Still, it is a good match and one that goes 'live' to America via one of the main channels, NBC, and Russia has it 'live' on the main TV channel, too. That is both a sign of the times and a great sign for the future of the game.
I clock off, having been on air in the company of two All Black greats, Ian Jones and Justin Marshall - I could listen to these guys talk rugby for hours. Justin gives me a lift back home and he, Barnesy and I end the day with a glass of red and some more World Cup chat. And, tomorrow it will be time to press pause momentarily, my first 'day-off' since arriving. I'm going to write this up and then have a spot of lunch somewhere nice. But, after that, you know, I just might check out the teams for Sunday's commentary, and then there's the All Blacks versus Japan and then there's......I'll be back in touch in a few days time.