New Zealand Rugby has welcomed a new worldwide calendar announced by World Rugby.
If there was a week the Australian Rugby Union needed some good news - some non-fake news, even - it was this week. The southern hemisphere's Super Rugby competition has been hampered in all but World Cup years by a temporary shutdown for three weeks in June to accommodate an worldwide window.
Global calendar meeting participants (San Francisco, January 2017): Bill Beaumont (World Rugby Chairman); Agustín Pichot (World Rugby Vice-Chairman); Philip Browne (IRFU); Ian Ritchie (RFU); Serge Simon (FFR); Steve Tew (NZR); Bill Pulver (ARU); Dan Payne (USA Rugby); Bruce Craig (day one) & Mark McCafferty (day two) (PRL); Paul Goze (LNR); Martin Anayi (PRO 12); Rob Nichol (IRPA); Brett Gosper (World Rugby Chief Executive); David Carrigy (World Rugby Head of Development & International Relations); Mark Egan (World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance) and Martin Raftery (World Rugby Chief Medical Officer).
Tew, echoing earlier comments from South African counterpart Jurie Roux, said: "This is an excellent outcome for New Zealand with Super Rugby able to run without the disruptive June break, and provides the optimum preparation for the July worldwide window".
"We now have certainty with a 10 year programme of July tours already agreed including three British and Irish Lions series", Tew said.
Mehrtens, born in South Africa, was part of the much-lauded All Blacks team which finished as runners-up in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, losing narrowly to the Springboks in the final at Ellis Park.
The November Test window has also been brought forward by a week to extend the rest period for southern hemisphere players while Rugby World Cups will henceforth be cemented within the calendar to kick off one week earlier in the second week in September.
But it is the increase of exposure for second-tier nations that will provide the biggest potential shake-up to the game.
Georgia and Romania will host test matches from Six Nations participants in the July window.
Six Nations unions must collectively host a guaranteed minimum of six tier two fixtures in each November window.
"This agreement has player welfare and equity at heart, driving certainty and opportunities for emerging rugby powers and laying the foundations for a more compelling and competitive worldwide game, which is great for unions, players and fans", Beaumont said.
"This process has been complex and there was no silver bullet. Compromise has been achieved by all stakeholders in the spirit of collaboration and I would like to thank my union, professional league and club colleagues for their full contribution and commitment to reaching an agreement that will ultimately benefit the whole game".