A domestic Super Rugby format featuring the five New Zealand teams is the likely scenario, according to 1 NEWS sports reporter Scotty Stevenson.
The competition could even be underwritten and funded by SANZAAR but New Zealand Rugby (NZR) CEO Mark Robinson repeated today that no formal decision has been made and no firm date is currently possible.
The multi-million dollar question is how that will affect a boosted provincial championship that has been talked about.
“We understand that the provincial unions will be taking funding cuts of around 15 per cent for the rest of the year as New Zealand Rugby grapples with a potential 130 million-dollar loss in projected revenues,” Stevenson said.
“Provincial survival is a major focus and a full-scale provincial competition could be very tough to manage despite there being some appetite for such a competition from the public and from some players.”
A conclusion to pay talks with the players is also close.
“Last week 1 NEWS reported on a planned percentage cut to retainers, and the removal of all incentives, but further discussions revealed that penalised certain players - arguably the most loyal players - more than others,” Stevenson said.
“New Zealand Rugby and the Players Association have since worked hard to make sure that on top of any percentage reduction in retainer, incentive cuts are weighted to be as equitable as possible.
“That detail is taking some time to hammer out but should be finalised later this week”.