The problems currently colouring the formation of the 2016 'Super 18' — the expanded version of the 15-team Super Rugby with new sides from South Africa, Argentina and, gulp, Japan — does rather accelerate the proposition that Sanzar are about to defecate mightily in their own nest.
Clearly Sanzar are chasing the dollar rather than the doughnut. They are bringing back the Southern Kings, who seem in disarray after an unsuccessful first foray in 2013 Super Rugby but who have political backing in South Africa because they are a prime area for black players.
Argentina, at least, is a no-brainer and they seem the only credible and sensible part of this expansion.
Japan? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
It was only last year the Japanese national team were beaten 61-21 by the Maori All Blacks — with none of the 30-odd top All Blacks available for selection.
Attracting crowds to watch the Japanese team — yet to gain a full roster and yet to be named — will be a challenge all on its own. Incidentally, fans were asked to name the new Japanese side and you just hope they do better than the nickname of the national team, The Brave Blossoms, which wins the prize for the limpest noodle name in the whole of sport.
But it's not about crowds, it's about TV and the dollars/yen they will pay for bringing the Sanzar circus to new screens. Japan has plenty of yen but not much ken when it comes to the actual sport.
To shoehorn in the new arrivals, Sanzar have created a competition of bewildering complexity. Trying to understand it risks a brain fog of such intensity you might have to lie down while your mum blows gently on your forehead and presses your teddy bear under one arm.
The theory of relativity is easier to understand and the Super 18 format is even more difficult to grasp than why anyone would watch the Paul Henry breakfast show — relentless giggling occasionally punctuated by 'news' which appears largely lifted from the Herald.
Here's the thing, after this World Cup, droves of players from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will either retire or troop off to the unmatchable money on offer in Europe. That will dilute the credible player pool just as three new teams come into being.
The Rebels and Force have never risen above mediocrity in the Australian conference (although the Rebels improved this year) and have underlined the contention that more teams does not equal better quality.
Already about 250 South African players ply their trade overseas (the equivalent of 11 teams, with subs) and there was no South African team in the 2015 semifinals for the first time since 2003. Real doubts are surfacing about South African depth.
The Kings seem unlikely to solve this problem as they are struggling to contract staff and players (although they have waved goodbye to Carlos Spencer as coach) and there are finance concerns — with officials apparently having to placate players before a recent trial match that wages would be paid and a sponsor landed.
As for Japan, they will play in the South African conference but are being allowed to play half their home games in Singapore at a better time for TV. We also don't know who the players will be or how many will be foreign and, if they are, how much will Japanese fans get behind the team? If they are mostly Japanese players, you worry a bit about them heading out to face the Bulls or Crusaders. It's like sending the Gingerbread Man round to knock on Hannibal Lecter's door.
Add all of that to the fact the number of home and away derbies in the three conferences is being cut. The best thing about Super Rugby, the fans love them but players say the intensity is too great; too many battered bodies and injuries arise. So they're being watered down, too.
Sanzar boss Greg Peters might have said something about all this but he's off in Buenos Aires these days, organising Argentina's Super Rugby team after quitting his Sanzar job. That's a bit like Gordon Ramsay leaving his US$120 million cooking empire to run the White Lady. Maybe he knows something we don't. Certainly he knows attendances have been dropping at all Super Rugby grounds — with the average South African crowd down 18 per cent between 2006-12, Australian crowds down 17 per cent in the same period and New Zealand down by 27 per cent.
However, Argentina is the only bright light in all this money-grubbing murk. They have attracted what seem to be mostly good players and at least 12 of the Pumas in the current Rugby Championship squad (including skipper Agustin Creevy) are said to be in the new team with maybe more to come.
A Pacific team, based in Auckland or Sydney and full of Samoan/Fijian/Tongan players, would have been a great rugby solution instead of Japan but, of course, the money isn't there for that. So this is a big roll of the dice by Sanzar and, while it has been incorrectly forecast many times Super Rugby is dying, it is starting to look more than a shade unwell.