Provincial rugby players have confirmed their desire to play in the Mitre 10 Cup, as negotiations continue over the scale of pay cuts they need to take.
Several provincial sides are believed to be asking for players to take a 30 percent cut, just so they can field a team in this year's competition.
While Crusaders players prepare for next month's revamped Super Rugby Aotearoa, front of mind is whether they'll get to play for their provincial sides later this year.
"Oh yeah, I think all players will do whatever they can to play and make sure their province survives," says All Blacks and Crusaders centre Jack Goodhue, a proud Northland Taniwha.
"I guess, as players, we just want to do whatever we can to get the game to play, because we love Mitre 10 Cup," says Tasman lock Quinten Strange.
Taranaki, Northland, Southland and North Harbour are believed to be among the sides asking for players to take a big pay cut. If they don't, unions may elect to forego this year's competition for their future financial security.
One provincial union has confirmed to Newshub that discussions between New Zealand Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association had "reached a sensitive stage", but for the players, a competition without all 14 teams is the worst possible outcome.
"We want all teams in the Mitre 10 Cup, because that's what the fans want and it's what we want," says Tasman captain David Havilli.
"I love North Harbour," says Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall. "I love getting back there and it's the region I'm born from.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back and I'd like to think that's where we're going to get to when these two parties get together.
For now, those two parties will stay locked in negotiations, while the players prepare to ride into Super Rugby.
"I think you just have to wait and see what happens, and I'll leave it up to the player's association," says Canterbury halfback Mitchell Drummond.