JUBILATION and glorious relief flooded through the Great Lakes and Manning Valley and reverberated in the Gloucester Ranges when it was announced that rugby union training would resume immediately in the Lower Mid North Coast in the wake of the coronavirus plague.
Inevitably, the news brought with it the dressing room's sweet smell of liniment and leather, memories of mud and blood, and stirred again the scent of victory and stench of defeat.
The game was not dead after all. It was alive and kicking again, and with it thoughts of winners and losers around roasting barbecue fires, of long sessions of beer and red wine among players and supporters, of story-telling rogues and romantics, of bruised and battered warriors, and of good people.
And, just as predictably, to the masochistic delight of the game's law-makers, the announcement brought with it strict guidelines from the rugby bureaucrats and Department of Health fiends, a Magna Carta document of limitations and restrictions.
Training fields will be reduced to 32-metre squares for each 10-person squad, drink bottles cannot be shared, each player will take personal football gear home for laundry purposes, socialising and conversing will continue with 1.5-metre distancing, and certainly no tackling, no scrummaging, no rucking and no mauling will be permitted, as yet.
In a full-on, heavy-duty game of kill or be killed, there will; be no body-hammering, no body-snatching, no body-slamming, no massacres........not in training sessions.
But regardless of all the Level B Guidelines and legal requirements of the Return to Play Framework, the game was alive. Rugby union was back.
And, assuredly, in a sport where male and female competition games are about to run cheek by jowl again this winter, scheduled to run rampant from July, there will be no body contact . And, certainly, despite its encouraging warmth, no sex please, not in front of the barbecue fire.
It seems to have been a long time in coming, but existence is regaining some sense of normality. Rugby is back. Life is worth living again.