No one could have predicted that it would take an economic catastrophe, significant pay cuts, heavy job losses and the collapse of the Sanzaar alliance for New Zealand rugby to find happiness.
These are indeed strange times but good times for professional rugby in New Zealand nonetheless.
• Rugby: South Africa in doubt to make Rugby Championship in New Zealand
• Super Rugby Aotearoa: Referee boss Bryce Lawrence warns players over surrounding match officials
• Rugby: South Africa Rugby issue warning to New Zealand Rugby over new Super Rugby competition snub
• Rugby league: New Zealand Warriors reject Geoff Toovey without interview - report
Great times perhaps. The best certainly since the game went professional in 1996 and rode a wave of euphoria driven by a combination of relief and novelty that the players were finally being paid, or at least paid into their bank accounts rather than shoe boxes stuffed with cash.
Being a poorer, leaner organisation suits New Zealand Rugby. For 25 years they were the Cinderella of the Sanzaar alliance – bossed around by their two sisters and told they would never be going to the ball because they didn't have the population or corporate support.
New Zealand did all the heavy lifting, carried the administrative burden and was there to soothe Australia's temper tantrums when they demanded more teams and negate the endless threats of walkouts that came from South Africa.
Covid-19 forced NZR to shift some weight, to get angry and stand up for themselves a little better and there is no greater symbol of their new found confidence and defiance than their insistence that a Pacific team will be involved in next year's Super Rugby Aotearoa.
New Zealand isn't covered in glory when it comes to Pacific relations but they have been the only voice within Sanzaar pushing for the inclusion of an Island team in the last five years.
It seems to suit the players, too, that they have taken an enforced pay cut and found themselves knocking lumps out of their good mates every week.
The quality of football hasn't necessarily jumped to new levels, but what has changed is the volume of quality games, which has been driven by the arrival of harder, more resilient mindsets across the five teams.
Gone are the soft games and with them the protective attitudes that used to pervade the New Zealand teams and high performance management world.
Since 2016, Super Rugby coaches, NZR high performance officials and All Blacks representatives would spend the last few months of every year locked in battle to determine rest, rotation and recovery protocol for the leading players.
To some extent it was a necessary evil, given the number of games and travel burden, for the best players to plan their respective seasons to avoid burnout, but it's an impossible business selling a necessary evil to prospective fans.
The late arrival into the competition each year by leading players and their fluctuating availability merely highlighted the flaws in the competition structure and intensified the belief that anyone with a remote connection to the All Blacks was never truly committed to Super Rugby.
Now, the commitment is undeniable. The likes of Sam Cane, Patrick Tuipulotu, Shannon Frizzell, TJ Perenara and Codie Taylor walk off the field having smashed themselves almost into a pulp, already talking about their desire to get back into action.
It's clear the players are grateful just to have contracts, however reduced, and what's coming through is their love of the game.
Gone from the weekly narrative are the various head coaches forewarning of selection changes to come based on the need to protect overworked players and what has quickly been fostered is intense pride within the individual clubs and a collective realisation that every game matters.
This sense or urgency and importance is what fans have long craved and it certainly suits the New Zealand rugby public, after two decades of feeling their needs and wants didn't matter a hoot, that they have been heard in this respect.
They have been heard in all respects. They are seeing the football they want, played by the players they want at the times they want.
It might no longer be novelty and scarcity motivating fans to turn up, but instead a genuine desire to show their commitment now that the administrators and players have shown theirs.
It is time, then, to stop seeing Covid-19's arrival as a story of untold harm and destruction.
Until now, the virus has been seen as an agent of harm, ripping its way through professional rugby clubs' soft-yolky balance sheets, creating uncertainty and an inevitable culture of austerity in its wake.
But Covid-19 has brought a much needed re-set and the sustainable future New Zealand rugby was never going to find amid it's old culture of excess.