With the preliminary draft of the Aratipu Report now filed, New Zealand Rugby finds itself with a fundamental question in relation to the future of Super Rugby.
It has to determine whether it wants Australia to be its weak and subservient partner in a one-sided alliance that leaves governance, control and Super Rugby decision-making all in the hands of New Zealand.
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Or is it willing to trust that however financially weak and vulnerable Australian rugby is now, it can in time become a genuine Super Rugby partner – deserving of equal decision-making rights and governance representation.
The future of professional club rugby in New Zealand and Australia will be shaped by this question because there are two vastly different practical implementations depending on the answer.
If NZR decides on the former path, it will take Super Rugby out of Sanzaar's control next year and run it itself.
New Zealand will have all the power – deciding the number of teams, entry criteria and revenue split. Most likely, but by no means definitively, that will result in Super Rugby being an eight-team competition.
New Zealand's five teams will be there and Australia will be invited to prove that it has the financial and playing resources to field two or possibly three sides if a Pacific island team is deemed too risky to support.
Effectively it will be Super Rugby Aotearoa continued, but with Australian teams should they accept the offer, and possibly one from Fiji.
If they choose the latter, Super Rugby will continue to be a Sanzaar-run entity with, most likely, 10 teams. Australia will continue to be an equal partner – hold its seat at the decision-making table and have at least four teams in the competition and possibly five depending on what happens with Fiji.
It would certainly be an aggressive play by New Zealand to take control of Super Rugby in the Pacific region but it's not without foundation or support as there are believed to be some on the NZR board who favour this.
Those who support this option say New Zealand is the dominant force in this part of the world, is backed by a strong broadcast partner, has cash reserves, five high quality teams and the potential to attract private equity.
Australia, on the other hand, still doesn't have a broadcast deal in place for next year. It is living off a World Rugby hand-out and can't convince anyone it has the playing resources to field any more than two teams that could turn up in New Zealand and genuinely compete.
While Aratipu has concluded Super Rugby Aotearoa is not financially sustainable long-term, that doesn't mean New Zealand has to see Australia as an equal partner in its future plans. They can play in Super Rugby but under New Zealand's terms and conditions.
Super Rugby Aotearoa has been refreshingly free of restrictions and complications, best exemplified by the decision to tighten the way the offside line and breakdown entry are being refereed.
Super Rugby under Sanzaar's control has been crippled by the need to compromise and find common ground between partners that often have vastly different requirements and goals.
New Zealand has enjoyed being single as it were – to be temporarily free from what was an increasingly loveless marriage of inconvenience.
So the argument for New Zealand to take control of Super Rugby is strong. But it's also not without longer-term risk as squeezing Australia now will leave New Zealand with limited future options to expand and develop Super Rugby.
It also sells Australia short and runs the larger risk that they reject the opportunity to be part of a New Zealand-run Super Rugby competition and instead try to do their own thing.
The Australians, even with their domestic game in chaos, will still back themselves to strike a better deal than being New Zealand's junior partner.
A power play by New Zealand now could leave them isolated and rejected – stuck with no option but to persevere with Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Australia may be weak and vulnerable now, but it could end up being a terrible mistake for New Zealand to go all bully-boy on them and end up losing them forever.
So while the argument for New Zealand to take control of Super Rugby is strong, the option of continuing with Australia as an equal partner is stronger.
A genuine alliance between New Zealand and Australia appears to be the only means by which Super Rugby can grow stronger and support the ambitions of both nations.