Australian rugby has a heartbeat.
The free-to-air television audience peaked at 464,000 during the frantic final minutes of last week's Super Rugby AU final while 41,637 in the stands marked a 17-year high for an Australian derby.
It was a dream result for the code. This might sting for ACT Brumbies fans, but perhaps having that final in Brisbane was a good thing.
The sheer fact of the matter is Canberra couldn't attract a crowd of that magnitude. Who knows how many it would have lured to Canberra Stadium? The Brumbies play an attractive brand of winning rugby and for some reason it does little to turn the needle.
A huge crowd in Brisbane reignited interest. But if rugby is to truly thrive again, perhaps what comes next in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman is even bigger.
MORE RUGBY UNION
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie won't be alarmed if Australian teams drop all five games in round one. But what happens if, in six weeks' time, Kiwi teams have re-established their dominance? Do fans slump back into the negativity of the past?
Australian fans need to be cheering for Australian teams. While a Brumbies fan might relish the idea of the Crusaders belting the Reds in Brisbane next week, they need the opposite.
A tough pill to swallow, yes, but all five New Zealand sides entered the opening round as heavy favourites. Imagine the scenes in Australian rugby if the underdogs rise above the odds.
Wind the clock back little more than 12 months, and the ACT Brumbies had just rolled the Waikato Chiefs in enemy territory.
If you'd have given them two options then - to play exclusively against Australian teams, or to play a Trans-Tasman competition and brush South Africa and the like - you know they'd have fancied their chances in the latter.
Trans-Tasman rugby is the way forward. Super Rugby AU has been a success because of the Brumbies' rivalry with the Reds. Of that, there is no question.
The leading two teams dominated the narrative for the best part of two seasons. Sure, we had the resurgence of the Western Force and the on-field demise of the NSW Waratahs, but take out the rivalry between the top two and we have little else to celebrate.
But that might not be around forever. Super Rugby AU served its purpose. Now Australian teams have a chance to rise above the odds.
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE
Saturday: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Hooper, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen
Canterbury Crusaders squad: 1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor (c), 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Mitchell Dunshea, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Ethan Blackadder, 7. Tom Sanders, 8. Cullen Grace, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12. David Havili, 13. Braydon Ennor, 14. Manasa Mataele, 15. George Bridge. Replacements: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Brendon O'Connor, 21. Ere Enari, 22. Fergus Burke, 23. Sevu Reece
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