Rugby Australia remain days away from announcing a format or fixtures list for a domestic Super Rugby competition proposed to kick off in early July.
Speaking to media on Saturday, RA confirmed there were still boxes that remained unticked in their process of returning to play with discussions with the Western Force still on going, but they remain confident the competition will feature at least five teams.
Despite Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson stating the Sunwolves were unlikely to participate in the competition, RA interim CEO Rob Clarke said the governing bodies hadn't ruled out including the Japan-based side in Australia's domestic Super Rugby league.
"We're still in discussions with the Sunwolves and the Australian government on that," Clarke told media. "As you can imagine it's not a quick process trying to get clarity from certainly the government in the first instance and then the Sunwolves having to react to that to understand exactly what they can do and in what time frame, so we're working diligently on it, but we don't have a final answer."
RA announced the competition would kick off on July 3 and is hopeful the season will run for eleven weeks with the competition to conclude on September 19, however, final elements including the Western Force's participation and broadcast arrangements still need to be finalised.
Clarke is continuing discussions with current broadcast partner Fox Sports as they look to sign a new broadcast deal for 2021 as well as a renewed deal for the restart of the Super Rugby season.
"That's a number one priority for me and the business," Clarke said. "I've had very fruitful discussions with our current broadcast partner in Fox Sports this week about how the shape of the balance of this year looks.
"Those discussions will continue next week and I'm confident we'll get some clarity within a week or two, given that we're trying to kick off a Super Rugby season domestically on the third of July, time is of the essence."