It feels like Mark Robinson has been groomed for the role of New Zealand Rugby chief executive most of his adult life. It's probably just as well: he could continue in the role for the next 20 years and he'll never face a challenge quite like the one he's been handed just a few months into his reign.
As chief custodian of the national sport, Robinson has the unenviable task of trying to marry hope with reality; he has to remain pragmatic in times that defy conventional rationale.
He must sell success, while preparing for almost inevitable failure.
At the moment he's playing salesman, pitching a New Zealand-only, intra-Super Rugby season. In the background his team will also be working on a doomsday scenario: a winter without rugby.
His role dictates that his primary concern must remain the health of the sport, but at the same time he must recognise the health of far less trivial things than sport is on the line.
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There are so many complicating factors that go into every decision his organisation must make that it is impossible to list them all, but near the top of the list is NZR's relationship with Sky.
The network last year stumped up record levels of cash for exclusive rights to New Zealand and Sanzaar rugby content and if that dowry wasn't enough to secure the marriage, they threw in five per cent of the company to boot.
Since then they have watched on in disbelief as their share price and market value has continued to tumble. At the time of writing Sky shares were valued at 25.5 cents, which based on the value of the sports rights they hold alone seems unfathomable.
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The longer Sky remains without live sport content, the more subscribers they are going to lose and the more exposed they become, so it is of course in both their interests to have footy to broadcast.
This is why the leaked memo sent to franchises explicitly stated that their main priority was to provide content to Sky.
In that environment, it makes perfect sense to screen games behind closed doors…
Until you factor in this wrinkle: Super Rugby franchises are not the sole property of NZR.
Most of the franchises have private equity. If you were a part-owner of one of the franchises, how do you benefit from taking on the cost of hosting games without revenue streams from ticketing or concessions?
It's very easy for sports administrators to say "we've all got to work together" to find a solution. If the solution leaves equity holders more out of pocket than they would be if they sat tight until life returned to something resembling normality, can you blame them for taking a cynical view of the proposed five-team tournament?
We haven't even discussed the players yet.
Players want to play. As contractors, they want to get paid. They also would like to stay safe. If, as seems inevitable, coronavirus in New Zealand changes from being a problem imported to one of community outbreak, how comfortable would they feel about being forced to crash into one another for 80 minutes for your viewing pleasure?
After reading the head of players' union Rob Nichol's comments to the Herald yesterday, a source closely connected to the game said he felt that reading between the lines Nichol was asking the government to make a call on suspending all rugby.
It would make it easier on the players: they can say they had trained to play, wanted to play and were ready to play, but circumstances outside their control had forced their hand.
Aside from the short-term pain to Sky, it might make it easier for NZR in the long run.
They, too, can say they tried to move mountains to get a competition going but it just wasn't to be.
That way rugby bosses don't risk getting the public mood badly wrong. Across the Tasman the NRL has come under fierce criticism for pressing on with their premiership while crying poor.
Rugby sees itself as the great unifier in New Zealand. In many respects the sport remains that, but if they are seen to be putting the game above public health and safety any goodwill will vanish faster than loo rolls from supermarket shelves.
These are the political contortions Robinson faces. It's probably fortunate he's been limbering up for this most of his life.