ACT Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has rejected bleak projections for Australian rugby, adamant the game can use a forced break to be rebuilt as a "dominant force".
This week looms as a crucial one for rugby, with talk of leadership divisions and the players trying to formalise a wage reduction deal to help save rugby from a disastrous fallout.
All teams are coming to terms to financial hardship of having the Super Rugby season cancelled, broadcast revenue disappear and lucrative internationals facing uncertain futures.
McKellar appeared to be building something special in Canberra before the coronavirus outbreak brought the season to an abrupt halt just as the Brumbies were breaking into a gallop.
Many have forecast the end of Super Rugby and the death of rugby because of the game's already tight financial position.
But McKellar can see a light at the end of the tunnel and hopes Rugby Australia invites coaches and senior players to join the "think tank" tasked with creating a vision for the future.
"There's no doubt it's an incredibly tough time," McKellar said. "It's a little bit like when you've had back to back to back losses, you have to understand you can turn it around if you have the right attitude.
"There's an enormous opportunity for the game moving forward when we get to the rebuild phase, once we get through this next period.
"How do we make sure there's genuine connection to community rugby? There's a lot of work. But I think if we can get it right in Australia and the southern hemisphere, we can be the dominant force that we want to be.
"We need to be honest and have a look at Super Rugby, now is an opportunity to do that."
The Brumbies emerged as a genuine title contender this season, winning five of their six games to record their equal best start to a season since 2004 before the competition was suspended.
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They were just one point behind the ladder-leading Durban Sharks, who had played one more game than the Canberra side when matches were put on hold.
The Brumbies demolished the NSW Waratahs in what could go down as the last game in Super Rugby history as SANZAAR nations start developing plans for the future.
A trans-Tasman format has been floated as well as a domestic Australian competition, which would include recalling the Western Force.
Rugby Australia Raelene Castle is putting together a group of people to develop a product for the future, which could include the continuation of Super Rugby, new-look models or domestic competitions.
"We're going to come out the other side of this, there's absolutely no doubt we will. There will always be professional rugby in Australia and the Brumbies will be a part of that," McKellar said.
"If you're looking at the game moving forward then it would be silly not have coaches involved in the talks, crazy not to speak to the experienced players about what they think a good competition looks like.
"There are plenty of great ideas out there about how we can make the game we all want it to be. But you're only going to get that if you ask.
"I'm not saying every man and his dog needs to be heard, but I think it's important the key people in the game have a chance to give their input to what professional rugby looks like moving forward."
The Brumbies' McKellar-led performance put him on the Wallabies' coaching radar as an assistant to Dave Rennie, but talks have not progressed beyond gauging his interest.
The Brumbies were plagued by bad luck off the field this year, which crippled their hopes of capitalising on their on-field momentum.
A state of emergency was declared before kick-off in their round-one game, a thunderstorm kept fans away in round three and an outbreak of the mumps led to players being put in quarantine.
"The Brumbies have proved over the years that success isn't a fluke here, but it's going to be tough over this next period," McKellar said.
"Is [the future] Australia, New Zealand, with the Force and a team from Asia? There's a chance to rebrand the whole product..
"Super Rugby was great for 25 years and it's been great for the game from day one of professional rugby in 1996. Is it time for change to go into the future? Maybe it is."