The All Blacks first appearance of the season against a composite Moana-Pacific team is expected to be confirmed this week, but major doubts shroud the staging of this year's Rugby Championship in New Zealand.
Michael Jones and Eroni Clarke are leading plans to pull together a Pacific side to take on the All Blacks in what will be the first appearance of Ian Foster's national reign.
The one-off Pacific fixture is expected to be played at Mt Smart Stadium on October 3, one week before the first scheduled Bledisloe Cup test.
Negotiations are on-going between the 14 provincial unions and New Zealand Rugby around how many players will be made available for the Pacific side.
With the Mitre 10 Cup scheduled to start on September 11, provincial teams will be well into their work and preparing for their fourth round fixtures by the time the Pacific match takes place.
While the provincial unions appreciate the broadcast revenue the Pacific match will generate the New Zealand game, they are also concerned about the impact the fixture could have if too many leading players are stripped from their respective Mitre 10 Cup teams.
The Herald understands the preference from the majority of provincial unions is to allow one player per team to represent the Pacific side, but New Zealand Rugby is thought to want two from each team to be made available.
This sticking point is believed to be holding up an official announcement.
The Pacific side will solely comprise New Zealand-based players due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Plans to stage the Rugby Championship in New Zealand, meanwhile, continue to suffer setbacks as the Covid-19 situation deteriorates in South Africa and Australia.
While New Zealand Rugby remains in consultation with Government officials about attaining travel exemptions and providing quarantine venues for foreign teams, insiders have told the Herald the tournament scheduled for November 7 to December 12 is now at serious risk.
South Africa's coronavirus cases have soared past 500,000 and are yet to hit their peak.
New Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber, who replaced Rassie Erasmus after last year's World Cup triumph, has stated his players need six matches in the domestic Currie Cup competition to be ready for the test arena, but the prospect of any rugby in the Republic anytime soon appears slim.
With the door closed on them to Super Rugby, many of Argentina's leading players are also leaving for Europe. The remaining Pumas will play Uruguay, Brazil and Chile in September but, as the days go by, the less likely the Rugby Championship appears.
If the tournament does not get off the ground the fallback option is to stage four Bledisloe Cup tests.
With Victoria in lockdown, and Queensland closing its borders to the Greater Sydney region last weekend, New Zealand Rugby's preference is to hold all four Bledisloe fixtures locally.
Crowds over 5000 are unlikely to be permitted at Australian venues in the near future, and the logistics of having to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in both countries makes little sense.