The story that was not a story has now become the biggest story in town.

England v the All Blacks, what looked to be a dead duck with New Zealand Rugby repeatedly saying they would not play ball on this heavyweight fixture on the Northern Tour, are now wavering.

What makes this whole battle of wits and cash between us and them, is not this one off match, it's a victory for the financial future of NZR.

For years CEO Steve Tew has been fighting the good fight, profit sharing matches in the North. The RFU predictably has said no way.


In fact RFU boss Ian Ritchie didn't hold back his feelings las year, when he told Southern Hemisphere opponents 'to go build bigger stadiums if they wanted to improve their finances'.


Now, though the balance of power has shifted. New Zealand is now calling the shots.

The All Blacks v England, Eddie Jones v Steve Hansen is now a contest the world wants and quite frankly a match the rugby world needs.

Clearly, the RFU is now 'reviewing' its flat out opposition to a profit sharing match, the timing of which has fallen nicely into the hands of NZR.

Tew has been adamant England was not an option for the vacant fourth test on the Northern Tour. Too hard he said.

But, he did make this comment just a couple of weeks ago. "The coaches thinking has changed since the original match was mooted."

That change is England.

As the All Blacks coaching team sat down this week for their 2017 think tank, two options were on the table.

The original plan, a match against the Barbarians which would be a revenue generator for the NZRU, but not in the same ball park as a match at Twickenham.

Or plan B, England and a match that could give New Zealand Rugby long term financial parity. Call it a game changer as far as revenue sharing matches are concerned.

The issue for the All Black coaches remains fatigue. Not just on the end of year tour, but the travel in the Rugby Championship which takes them to Argentina, South Africa and then back to New Zealand.

There is no doubt since Argentina was added to the competition, the All Blacks coaches have struggled to keep their troops fresh and invigorated come November.

So, this week the All Blacks coaches met for the annual pre-season attack plan.

On the agenda, not only what shape the All Blacks will be in by the time they face France, Wales, Scotland and potentially England on the Northern tour.

Hansen and his coaches are also exploring ways to better cope with the travel to South American and South Africa.

What is for certain, the discussions between Tew and Hansen are sure to be fascinating on what is best for his team and what is best for the bottom line of New Zealand Rugby.

"We have a very understanding group of coaches, in an ideal world the All Black program might look a little bit different if it was just about team performance on and given day but they also understand that unless we have a realistic look at the commercial imperatives we have to live with and the fact that we have to play some extra games to drive the extra revenue to keep them and the players in the country, they are very understanding of that," Tew said.

"We don't always agree and there will have to be a compromise," he added.

I don't know about you, but if Tew can get the coaches on board, suddenly the 2017 international season, which already includes a blockbusting Lions Tour, could be one of the best on record.