It's on. The proposed match between New Zealand Maori and the Springboks has been given a surprise green light by the South African Rugby Union.
The match, mooted as part of the Springboks' preparations for the upcoming series against the British & Irish Lions, had looked to be ill-fated when a South African President's Council ruling forbidding contests between national teams and sides selected along racial lines had appeared to stymie the event.
But discussions have continued between the South African and New Zealand unions and an announcement today indicates the match now looks likely to go ahead.
SARU's President's Council announced it had "instructed staff to proceed with an attempt to host a match between a South African XV and the New Zealand Maori before the start of the Lions series".
In other words, the highly anticiapted showdown -- a match Boks coach Peter de Villiers regards as crucial in his side's preparations for the three-test Lions series -- is back on again.
All that remains to be undertaken now is some finer details worked out around the funding of the match. That should not stand in its way now.
The instruction came after SARU's council accepted a recommendation from the management committee that the union should "accept matches against any teams sanctioned by the national governing body of that team".
That recommendation is a sensible way round the red tape that threatened to torpedo the match between two sides that have been on rugby's international landscape for a long, long time.
SARU's acting managing director Andy Marinos has been mandated to examine ways to fund the costs of hosting the Maori in South Africa.
A possible date and venue has yet to be identified for the planned match, but now the green light has been given expect the rest of the detail to follow pretty quickly.
This is a match both South Africa and New Zealand want to make happen.
For New Zealand, it helps solve the embarrassing situation where the Maori were left of the 2009 calendar because of financial constraints.
And for the Boks it's an ideal shakedown for the Lions.
"It's great news from South Africa," NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorenson said.
"As we have said for some time, we have been working really hard with the South Africans to make this match a reality and while it's not yet a done deal, the fact that their president's council has given it the green light is a real positive.
"We need to now work with the South African management on logistical and operational issues to see if the match will definitely go ahead."
The Maori, comprising players of indigenous heritage, have been New Zealand's international second-string team in recent seasons.
In terms of competition, the Maori have often been of a higher standard than many other countries' full test teams.
The Maori beat the British and Irish Lions in 2005, beat Canada 59-23 in 2007, and last year beat Japan, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Australia A to win the Pacific Nations Cup.
Maori players were once prevented by South Africa's apartheid laws from joining All Blacks tours to the republic.
They last toured South Africa in 1994 without meeting the Springboks.