New Zealand Rugby finds itself toying with the idea of implementing a replacement series to the suspended Super Rugby competition as there is still no clear timeline as to when it will be safe for sports to resume due to coronavirus.
Discussions are being held amongst NZ Rugby, the NZ Rugby Players Association and various stakeholders around the idea of a domestic tournament taking place if it is possible, even amidst the heightened state of caution recommended by the Government.
The replacement competition would see the New Zealand-based teams square off against each other in a series of local derbies that would begin in a few weeks, provided the current health restrictions implemented by the Government are lifted.
The decision could be taken out of NZ Rugby's hands, however, should the Government take a firmer stance on sports events and public events in general.
Although a definitive ruling on sporting events would be bad news for fans, NZ Rugby could potentially be relieved of their contractual and financial burdens, depending on their commercial arrangements.
NZ Rugby Players Association says there is no pressure from their TV rights holder and they have the support of players to make an early return. CEO Rob Nichol says, however, that there is a responsibility to the game as a whole to repair the situation.
"We all know we have got a responsibility to our industry to do the very best we can to minimise the collateral damage as a result of the virus. We would be naive if we didn’t think that there was going to be a commercial impact as a result of this. But like everything we’ve done in the past in the good times and the bad, if you like, we sit around the table and work our way through it."