In times of despair, New Zealand Rugby must find hope.
Rugby, as with all sport, will eventually play a positive role in leading the country and communities out of the coronavirus crisis. To do so it must first endure short-term pain to ensure its long-term future, and find a way to come together as the ethos of the game expects from all levels.
The chance to resume playing may be three months from now. Whenever it arrives, rugby must be ready and united in its approach to maximise opportunities to start the immediate and far-reaching rebuild.
Few insiders expect the July tests, when Wales and Scotland are scheduled to play the All Blacks, to proceed as planned. That will necessitate the focus on a domestic resumption.
What exact form that takes is already creating tension, however, given the competing vested interests of the provincial unions and Super Rugby bases.
The proposed 10-week Super Rugby derbies, expected to involve the five franchises starting their seasons again and playing eight games each, is one touted option for a re-start.
All Blacks returning to their provincial homes over a prolonged period is another enticing prospect.
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed reviving the North versus South fixture, potentially in a State of Origin style format that could double as an All Blacks trial, is also being seriously considered.
"Those things you've mentioned are on the table and there's probably others as well. Our team is excited about some of the opportunities and we think fans could be too," Robinson said.
"If we're able to play domestic rugby without any international touring then we could play for much longer than a traditional season and that opens up all sorts of opportunities for what rugby might look like in New Zealand.
"If we have a limited window to play in – from the middle of the year or whenever the time is, there's a whole range of opportunities. Some of the options could really capture the imagination of the rugby public, players and our partners."
The Herald has, however, spoken to several well-placed sources who suggested forging alignment and selling the pathway of the greater good would not be straightforward.
Robinson confirmed those challenges.
"We are asking everyone to take a view of what's best for New Zealand rugby and that's hard sometimes because depending on where people fit within that ecosystem they might have very strong views in certain directions," he said.
"We're really committed to not leave anyone behind in terms of their financial positions. We've got to make sure whatever gets played at the end of the year everyone is in a position to benefit from that."
New Zealand's five Super Rugby teams this week each received $250,000 bailouts and Super Rugby executives spoken to by the Herald realise those can't go on.
From sponsors to memberships, Super Rugby clubs are leaning heavily on relationships that will only last so long. Even they may not survive the doomsday scenario of no rugby this year.
Amid the clamour for survival funding, most provincial unions are realistic. Sources indicated a minority, however, have adopted the nuclear approach.
The vast majority face profound challenges. Auckland and Canterbury are best placed with cash reserves; Wellington and Tasman solid enough. Others will be nervous.
While NZR funding has been guaranteed for April, reductions are expected. With access to trust, gaming funding and sponsorship drying up, anxious times loom.
Northland, Southland and North Harbour had stressed financial outlooks before the Covid-19. So, too, Taranaki after their well-documented issues with New Plymouth's earthquake-prone stadium. Waikato also owes a significant loan to NZR.
At this point no one knows where provincial unions might end by August-September.
Everyone accepts the very real financial challenges but rugby must come together to shape its new fraught future.
Nostalgia springs eternal at the prospect of the provinces taking precedent by harnessing New Zealand's premier talent. All Blacks fighting for their backyards makes for enthralling tribalism.
There is hope for purists in that provincial rugby would offer more content over more weekends which would entice broadcast partner Sky TV, who faces a perilous future.
Yet the realities of such a throwback scenario, particularly around players' salary profile, appear challenging.
Super Rugby bases questioned their $200,000 All Blacks playing in the Mitre 10 Cup, where they instead earn $50,000, and how they would explain that scenario to major sponsors, some of whom stump up $500,000 annually.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, one McKinsey review recommendation was to effectively reduce the Mitre 10 Cup to a feeder amateur competition.
In that light, and if there is a compressed window, provincial rugby could potentially be played as a curtain-raiser to New Zealand's Super Rugby derby league.
For now ,all options remain up for debate between the working group comprising provincial unions, Super Rugby clubs, the Players' Association and commercial partners.
The difficult conversations will play out over the coming weeks and months as everyone attempts to project better days.
Ultimately, which playing option generates more revenue is likely to determine outcomes.
"We want to come up with the best thing for New Zealand Rugby and we don't know what exactly that is yet," Robinson said. "If we can focus on what drives the most interest, value and excitement at the back end of the year that will filter down and provide benefits to our stakeholders in time.
"There's an opportunity to reset and look at some things differently in terms of innovation that might happen in and around the game as well, be they law innovations, the way the game is presented on TV or in stadia. This is also exciting and that's the benefit of having control of the domestic environment.
"The challenge in all this is we simply don't know when we can get back on the field."
The financial squeeze enveloping sport is beyond anyone's control but this watershed moment could shape the future of the New Zealand game.
Getting there together will, however, require astute negotiations.