Welsh Rugby Union boss Steve Phillips has defended criticisms of Wales' upcoming test against the All Blacks in Cardiff, revealing that the game could earn the governing body up to $7.8 million.
The All Blacks will meet Wales at Principality Stadium on October 31 in a test that takes place outside of the World Rugby designated match window.
It means Wales will be without their English-based players including Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau, Louis Rees-Zammit and Callum Sheedy, while several others are either ruled out or in doubt due to injuries.
According to Wales Online, a conservative count of 21 players could miss the test, leading to many questioning the merit of the game.
However, Phillips hit back at critics of the test, saying the blockbuster matchup will be important to help fund the local community and professional game, especially at a time when the sport's finances have taken a hit due to the pandemic.
"The first thing I'd say is this is not a new thing," Phillips told Wales Online, when asked about playing the All Blacks without Wales' English-based players.
"We've done a fourth autumn international since I can remember, and I can remember a good long way back, so it's always been part of our business planning.
"I would guess we will probably make between £3m to £4m (NZ$5.8-7.8m). It's absolutely vital because that's what funds the game. It also addresses a lot of concerns we hear from the regions.
"I don't want to nick Warren Gatland's ideas, but to be the best you've got to play the best and they (New Zealand) are certainly up there with the best.
"You then put your commercial hat on. It's sold-out and we could probably sell it out again. In terms of financial contribution for the year, it's fundamentally important.
"It then funds the game and it's a virtual circle.
"It's great news to have them (New Zealand) coming here. It's great financially and commercially it's great for our brand. Literally everything is sold out – every ticket and every hospitality space.
"In fact, the team were looking around last week trying to create hospitality space so I'm really looking forward to it."
Wales were due in Auckland and Wellington last July but the games were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The team's last clashed in the third-place playoff at the 2019 Rugby World Cup while the All Blacks haven't played in Cardiff since 2017 - a 33-18 victory.
Wales are coming off winning the Six Nations title for the sixth time, including the triple crown with victories over England, Scotland and Ireland.
Wales open their autumn fixtures against the All Blacks on October 31 before taking on South Africa, Fiji and Australia in consecutive weeks.
The All Blacks will take on the USA on their first leg of a northern tour on October 24, followed by Wales, Italy, Ireland and France in consecutive weekends.