The ACT Brumbies will meet with Rugby Australia over the coming days amid a thawing relationship between the two parties.
The governing body announced a formal agreement with the NSW Waratahs on Tuesday, with RA to take control of the professional program from January 1.
RA will take responsibility for the Waratahs' high-performance operations - including the playing roster - plus assets, liabilities and commercial arrangements, with all NSW employees continuing in their current roles.
While the Waratahs have the most to gain and least to lose, there has been suspicion in Canberra about RA's plans.
As a result, talks between the Brumbies and the national body have been tense at best and at times hostile.
ACT officials have agreed to a centralised model of the rugby program, however wish to retain control of their off-field operations.
This led to RA auditing the franchise's finances in an attempt to prove they weren't solvent. The Brumbies accept finances are tight but remain solvent.
The frosty relationship between the two parties has thawed recently and talks ramped up earlier this week. ACT chief executive Phil Thomson will meet with RA counterpart Phil Waugh over the coming days in an attempt to map out a mutually beneficial partnership.
The conversations are in their formative stages, with the pair yet to discuss finer details and an agreement still a long way off.
"We've had some preliminary discussions," Thomson said. "We'll be speaking more in the coming days."
In announcing the Waratahs deal, Waugh insisted RA was not attempting to takeover the franchises.
The Queensland Reds have also resisted the push to centralise all aspects of their professional arm.
Waugh is optimistic the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force will back the program in coming weeks.
He is also hopeful of talking the Brumbies around before the start of the 2024 Super Rugby season.
The RA boss insists much progress has been made in talks with the Brumbies over the past month, and says his 30-year relationship with Thomson certainly helps.
"We don't see it as a takeover. We see it as an integration and partnership and alignment," Waugh said.
"We are not content to sit on the sidelines any longer on this much-needed reform, and I hope all Super Rugby clubs will follow our lead as we push forward on an aligned Australian rugby ecosystem."
Selling the dream to the Brumbies hasn't been easy.
Waugh has allayed relocation concerns, offering the ACT-based outfit a guarantee they won't be moved.
"The Brumbies have been with us - and dominating - since 1996," Waugh said.
"It's not in anyone's interest to be trying to shift that team anywhere else, so there certainly hasn't been that conversation anymore."
RA's intended overhaul comes after the Wallabies failed to progress from the group stages for the first time at a Rugby World Cup.
"The key here is getting a more successful national team. That drives interest of those that don't follow rugby and those that are questioning whether they want to be involved in rugby," Waugh said.
"You look through the history of when Australia's done well at a Wallaby level, it drives interest into the game, it drives commercial interest into the game, and it brings the game together.
"This is around getting a better high-performance outcome, as well as more laser focus on community."
A key plank in the centralisation process is appointing a high-performance director to oversee the coaching program, with Waugh confident of unveiling a recruit before Christmas.
He also wants the new Wallabies coach on deck before the start of the Super Rugby season in March.
"As long as we get the best possible candidate, I'm less concerned around the timeline of that," Waugh said.
"It's about getting the best candidate for head coach, and the best candidate for head coach also then brings a really strong assistant coaching team and structure.
"(But) whilst we do have time through to July when we play the next Test, we know that the available coaches and the best possible coaches on the market get snapped up really quickly after the World Cup."
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