Japanese rugby is enjoying a World Cup hangover, but Christian Lealiifano says the idea of aligning the best Top League teams with Super Rugby is still pretty out there.
The future of Super Rugby remains shrouded in uncertainty, with competition officials having to rethink their plans for a 14-team season in a post-coronavirus world.
According to reports, one model being considered includes the two best Top League teams playing in a crossover finals series.
The Japanese season would run concurrently with Super Rugby in the first half of next year, with the winners of each conference to meet in an eight-team play-off.
The Top-League has become a lucrative option for international players and has drawn the likes of former ACT Brumbies captain Lealiifano, David Pocock, Bernard Foley and many others.
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Lealiifano, who joined the NTT Communications late last year, is excited by the prospect of a crossover series but says there are many hurdles that must be considered first.
"It's pretty out there I think. It would be quite difficult to do but I think it's exciting Japan is being thought of," Lealiifano said.
"The Japanese are getting better at rugby and having the World Cup there last year really helped the growth of the game.
"But it's still a semi-professional set-up. There are some professionals, foreigners go there and play with the company guys who are essentially like club players - so you get a really mixed bag with some teams.
"It could be quite difficult with the professional set-ups in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa... then you'd also have to factor in television rights - those sort of things need to be aligned for it to work.
"But if it does go that way I think it would definitely help the growth in Japan."
Lealiifano returned to Canberra last month following the coronavirus-forced cancellation of the Top League season.
He played six games before the season was cut short, enjoying his first glimpse of rugby in a post World Cup Japan.
"There was just a crazy buzz, I think there was a World Cup hangover which was good," Lealiifano said.
"I really enjoyed the fan support and the growth of the game. It was definitely some tough footy, the training intensity was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
"It was really cool to play with some foreign players as well, guys like Malcolm Marx who's a World Cup winner."
Being back home means he can spend more time with family and friends, including his former Brumbies teammates.
The 32-year-old playmaker has been watching the team from afar and was impressed by their dominate start to the season.
The Brumbies won five of their first six games, which were try-scoring records. Their attack and winning record was the best in 16 years.
But one thing that stood out was the performance of 20-year-old Noah Lolesio, who replaced Lealiifano in the No.10 jersey.
"I got to see him firsthand at training while I was here so I'm not surprised at all," Lealiifano said.
"I thought he'd step in and do a fantastic job which I'm glad he has. That's him you know, he's keen to learn and continue to get better.
"There's plenty of young guys coming through which I'm really excited about, and some of the experienced guys are also playing really well.
"I thought the team had a really good balance and dynamic, it was fun to watch."