Serious questions have to be asked about the decision-making process New Zealand Rugby followed to reach the conclusion a Pasifika Super Rugby team would lack the necessary quality of personnel to be competitive next year.
The evidence to the contrary can be viewed every weekend across the country as the Mitre 10 Cup is a hot-house of Pasifika talent, the best of which could be plucked out, put in a squad and bring in excess of 120 test caps to Super Rugby.
NZR says that's not good enough and yet if we go back to the first round of Super Rugby this year, it was certainly good enough for the New Zealand franchises.
The Blues had 65 test caps in their starting team and another 48 on the bench. The Chiefs had 132 test caps on the field at the start of their first game, the champion Crusaders had 70 with 88 on the bench and the Hurricanes had just 96 in their entire match day squad.
When the Highlanders first played the following week, they had 115 test caps in their match day squad, 97 of them, however, belonged to Aaron Smith.
Experience can't be cited by NZR as the problem, besides a significant number of Mitre 10 Cup Pasifika-eligible players have already been deemed good enough to play in Super Rugby as they have previously held contracts.
On this list would be Nasi Manu, who captained the Highlanders to the title in 2015, Orbyn Leger who has played for both the Blues and Chiefs, Manasa Mataele who was part of the champion Crusaders squad in 2017 and Ezekiel Lindenmuth who was with the Blues last year.
Other well-known, quality players such as Teofilo Paulo who has won 34 test caps for Samoa, Kirisi Kuridrani and Pele Cowley are kicking about in the Mitre 10 Cup and would make strong additions to Super Rugby.
But what's important to understand is that this is the tip of the talent iceberg.
A squad with 120-plus international caps, many of whom have already played Super Rugby, is the bare minimum offering. That's a worst case scenario for a Pasifika team based on players currently here in New Zealand and definitely available should the team get the green-light.
The picture would change dramatically, as NZR well understands, if the team was actually given the go-ahead to play in Super Rugby Aotearoa next year.
It's classic, build it and they will come. Or more accurately, build it and they will commit because throughout Japan, the UK and France there are Pasifika-eligible players and a few seriously high profile Pasifika heritage players who have indicated they want to be involved.
It is understood the Vunipola brothers – Mako and Billy – are interested. Both have been picked in the current England squad but their club Saracens has been relegated for a salary cap breach and they want to explore how a stint in Super Rugby would look and what impact it would have on their respective careers.
Wales and British Lions No 8 Taulupe Faletau is another high profile target who is understood to be interested in the concept.
Former All Black first-five Lima Sopoaga has been unhappy at Wasps since he arrived in 2018 and is possibly ready to come home while there are quality test players such as former Hurricanes openside Jack Lam and former Crusaders and Highlanders wing Telusa Veainu who may be interested in returning.
Other former Super Rugby players with test experience are also thought to be in discussions to return – men such as Patrick Osborne who was brilliant on the wing for the Highlanders in 2015 and former Hurricanes centre Alapati Leiua.
Having said the Pasifika team would lack the requisite talent, NZR has not revealed how it reached that conclusion. It's time that they did.