Having unilaterally blown up Super Rugby earlier this year, New Zealand Rugby cast itself as the self-styled governor of the Southern Hemisphere.
To end 25 years of Super Rugby with a press release that said teams from across the ditch were welcome to apply for entry but only two were likely to get in, was aggressive rather than cold.
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This wasn't the equivalent of ending a long marriage by text, it was NZR shoving a snooker ball in a sock and clunking Australia on the head with it.
NZR went into lockdown as a sort of mild-mannered, novelty sock-wearing accountant who silently bent to all of Sanzaar's requests no matter how doomed, to seemingly come out with a shaved head, a lot of cut-off denim and no desire to compromise or tolerate anyone else's wishes.
Strategically, the move to take control and build a competition that everyone in New Zealand wanted, was the right play.
We'd all had enough of the flawed format, the weak foreign teams, the endless travel and multiple time zones.
NZR delivered the right outcome but it did so in a way that infuriated Australia to the point where retaliation was inevitable.
Now it has come as Australia, in partnership with South Africa and Argentina, has released a Rugby Championship schedule to which New Zealand has not agreed.
Like all those who have tried to seize power through acts of belligerence, NZR now faces the age-old decision whether to back down or double down in the face of resistance.
And they only really have one choice which is to keep wielding their power and refuse to be part of the Rugby Championship until they get what they want – which is the shortened format of playing six tests in five weeks so New Zealand's players can be through quarantine before Christmas.
Since Sanzaar released the draw for the Rugby Championship which has the All Blacks unexpectedly playing on December 12, there have been suggestions that there are all sorts of options to explore on how a Christmas quarantine can be avoided.
Except there aren't. The competition can't start a week earlier and the government is never going to agree to a shortened quarantine period.
The All Blacks have status and profile in this country, but it would be politically mad, not to mention dangerous to the public health, to grant 45 rugby players permission to cut short their isolation period when they return from Australia.
Those two ideas are non-starters and so there is one solution only – squeeze the format so the last game can be played a week earlier.
NZR, when it was the preferred Rugby Championship host, made that very concession to accommodate Australia's wish to avoid a Christmas quarantine, so to not have that reciprocated intensifies the sense of this scheduling drama being a deliberate and antagonist response to the Super Rugby explosion.
NZR chose to pursue a gunboat diplomacy approach with Australia and its Sanzaar partners and while it may now wish it hadn't, it has no choice but to commit to that path.
If they buckle to Australia's first attempt at exacting retribution for the Super Rugby business, who will take NZR seriously when they next try to throw their weight around in Sanzaar politics?
There is consensus in the rugby fraternity that NZR should have taken a softer approach with Super Rugby to achieve the same outcome.
If they had suggested they were holding the door open to some Australian teams rather than slamming it in the face of those it didn't want, then perhaps relations could have remained cordial with both sides open to working together to exploit future opportunities as borders re-opened.
But it's too late to be thinking like that because NZR picked a fight and now it has to win it.
Their credibility will be destroyed if they fail to win the scheduling change they have asked for.
NZR came out of lockdown no longer prepared to make flawed compromise agreements that failed to deliver their ideal scenario and now they are considering doing just that.
All the various executives and stakeholders can talk about exhausting all the available solutions to the problem that has been created by the current Rugby Championship schedule, but we all know there is just one way to fix it and that is to play six tests in five weeks.
If they can't force Australia to cede to their demands then NZR is facing a short reign as the self-appointed governor of Southern Hemisphere rugby.
They have one card to play here and it is an ultimatum that the All Blacks won't be involved unless their last Rugby Championship test is brought forward a week.
NZR whacked Australia once with a snooker ball and whether that felt good, bad or indifferent, they are going to have to do it again.