There is a hard way and an easy way to package Super Rugby in 2021 and Rugby Australia is now hell-bent on going with the former.
Pride is leading them down the path of self-destruction. A refusal to see sense in a sensible proposal is going to result in Australia blowing the chance of a lifetime to rebuild their game on the sort of stable foundations it needs to fulfil its longer term ambitions.
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Unless there is a dramatic shift in position by either Rugby Australia or New Zealand Rugby, everyone should stand back because there is going to be a horrible mess in this part of the world when the professional club game inevitably goes splat next year.
And it will go splat, because Australia and New Zealand running entirely separate versions of Super Rugby is as doomed as the previous set-up where they ran a single, bloated and wildly uncompetitive competition together in conjunction with South Africa, Argentina and Japan.
They would be swapping one bad idea for another – one that is in fact potentially worse and even less likely to succeed.
In the previous iteration of Super Rugby there were nine teams based in this part of the world – split between New Zealand and Australia.
There had, between 2011 and 2017 been 10, until everyone agreed that was excessive and damaging the credibility and sustainability of the competition.
If both New Zealand and Australia go it alone next year, there will be 16 teams in this part of the world. It's plainly stupid to believe that's a good idea and if both nations plough down that path, they will be assuring their mutual destruction.
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There are just three weeks left to persuade Australia that the easier road to travel is the one where they accept that they can't have five teams in New Zealand's Super Rugby competition next year. They could maybe have four and that's a deal they should take.
That's a deal they should already have taken – their expressions of interest filed, their business plans lodged and the bad news already delivered to the one team they would have to cull.
If that plan was put in front of a broadcaster, Australia would strike a good deal quickly. Super Rugby Aotearoa enjoys better viewing figures in Australia than their own competition has mustered post lockdown.
But Rugby Australia doesn't like the fact it has been dictated to by New Zealand. It doesn't like the idea of being the junior partner – asked to apply to be part of little brother's rugby jamboree and so they have become entrenched in their position of resistance, convincing themselves that New Zealand's vision is not driven by common sense, but by arrogance. By a desire to assert their authority based on the success of Super Rugby.
So the Australians don't want to back down for fear it would be seen as an admission of weakness: a confirmation that it is the servant to its New Zealand master.
Rugby Australia also really doesn't like the thought of having to cull a team. It had to do that in 2017 and the process ripped the rugby fraternity apart.
It was a horrible time for the game over there and the reputational damage was extensive and lasting .
Having already cut the Western Force, who didn't play in 2018, 2019 or this year pre-Covid, it seems like there is no hard decision to make – that they could sign up to Super Rugby Aotearoa today with the Waratahs, Brumbies, Reds and Rebels.
Except that the Force have the backing of billionaire Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest and Rugby Australia wants to keep him close and his wallet even closer.
So rather than make a controlled but difficult decision to cut one professional team now to be part of a sustainable cross border competition next year, Rugby Australia wants to enter a world where all five teams could collapse in a wildly chaotic and uncontrollable scenario as a result of trying to go it alone.
At the same time on Monday as Rugby Australia made its Super Rugby ultimatum that it must have five teams next year, the Blues announced another sell-out at Eden Park for their clash with the Crusaders.
That was yet more evidence that Super Rugby works when there is an intensity to it, a sense of the unknown around every game.
A five-team Kiwi-only format, as the players have been increasingly stressing, is not sustainable but Eden Park won't be full next year, or remotely close to it, if there are five Australian teams in the competition. That will kill the intensity.
NZR isn't going to back down and Rugby Australia says it won't either, creating a game of chicken as it were, to see which one of the two truly has the conviction to follow through with their plans.