Momentum is building on plans to stage the Rugby Championship in Australia or New Zealand towards the end of this year.
With rugby returning to the domestic scene in the form of Super Rugby Aotearoa from June 13, behind the scenes regular high level discussions are being held to ensure the All Blacks swiftly follow suit.
As the coronavirus situation rapidly improves in New Zealand, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set to decide on a move to alert level 1 at a Cabinet meeting next Monday, the prospects for sport grow more positive each day.
• Rugby: Date set for global calendar summit that could change All Blacks as we know it
• Rugby: How All Blacks star Jack Goodhue exceeded his own expectations
• Rugby: Why Sam Whitelock's All Blacks days are numbered
• Rugby: Former All Blacks winger Nehe Milner-Skudder opens up about tough times ahead of Highlanders comeback
Moving to level 1 is expected to pave the way for crowds to be welcomed back immediately – a timely income boost that will go some way to help offset the costs of staging matches in traditional stadiums for the five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises.
Super Rugby Aotearoa's 10-week local derbies will run until August 16 when the Blues host the Crusaders in the final-round match at Eden Park, where a winner will be declared as there is no finals format.
After that, an All Blacks trial has been pencilled in. This will probably take place with the revival of the North against South Island concept.
By the time the Mitre 10 Cup kicks off on September 11, Ian Foster could well be preparing to preside over his first test in charge of the All Blacks, some two months later than originally scheduled.
The push to establish a trans-Tasman travel bubble by July heightens expectations for the All Blacks to compete in a four-match Bledisloe Cup series, with two tests staged in each country.
Broadening the Bledisloe out to the Rugby Championship by including the world champion Springboks and Pumas presents far more challenges as those nations would, at this point, require travel exemptions to set up camp and compete in Australia or New Zealand.
Interim Rugby Australia chief executive Rob Clarke has, however, admitted considerable work is now underway to achieve exactly that.
"We are hopeful of having a full Rugby Championship," Clarke told The Australian. "One of the options is to have it in one country, either here or in New Zealand, which would make sense from a geographic point of view. And if that can be achieved with the governments' support, then it is something that we should support."
Significant lost revenue from the postponed Southern Hemisphere-hosted July internationals continues to force widespread redundancies and wage cuts at both the New Zealand and Australia rugby unions.
While rugby's return will initially place the domestic game at the forefront, reigniting the test game is the priority when it comes to starting the financial rebuild.
From the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the All Blacks will therefore take precedent as their pulling power to attract revenue is unmatched.
Despite the slowly improving Covid-19 picture in Europe, at this stage the scheduled Northern Hemisphere-hosted tests in November are expected to be postponed.
Northern unions first hope to complete their four postponed Six Nations tests in late October, and restart their club competitions, which should leave space for the Rugby Championship to push later in the year than usual.
Any Rugby Championship 'hub' in which Australia or New Zealand solely hosts the tournament may also feature mid-week tests, though player welfare issues would need to be mitigated.
From a viewing perspective, concerns for the Rugby Championship will centre on the competitiveness of the Pumas and Wallabies.
With Super Rugby's cross-border competition suspended indefinitely and expected to face a future overhaul, Argentina's Jaguares have been told to accept any overseas contract offers which may cloud their availability if players are forced to opt out of representing their national team.
Australia's financial woes, which forced the national body to reduce its wage bill by $5.5 million and cut 47 of its 142 staff, is expected to further open the door to an exodus of playing talent.
Just last week reports emerged that 16 players are set to leave the Melbourne Rebels, while concerns persist about whether Australia has the funds to sustain four professional teams.
After Raelene Castle was forced out as chief executive, Australia's dwindling elite player pool paints the challenging picture for incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie who faces a fierce introduction to the test scene whenever that may be.