Handed two free weekends to work with at short notice by the temporary suspension of the Heineken Champions Cup, organisers of the Guinness PRO14 opted to re-fix one match for each weekend rather than bring forward a full round of fixtures from later in the season.
Considering that the teams would have had access to full squads, schedulers are dealing with a finite supply of dates and the matches will now instead go up against Six Nations weekends, it seems like an opportunity missed.
Now that they've found a home for postponed games between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh this Saturday and Munster and Leinster a week later, there are no fixtures in the books beyond Round 11, which took place last weekend.
It means the three European leagues all took a different approach, with the Top 14 bringing a full round forward and playing a number of postponed games and the English Premiership opting to take a circuit breaker approach by having two free weekends.
So, at what normally is the busiest and most important point of the season, Irish rugby effectively has a free weekend apart from a game between Ulster 'A' and Leinster 'A' at Kingspan Stadium that will take place at 3pm on Friday behind closed doors and with no cameras present.
The visit of a full-strength Leinster side to Thomond Park will occupy minds next weekend and for Andy Farrell there will be plenty to analyse from that game.
However, the Ireland coach will not be happy that Ulster and Connacht have three weekends off before the opening game against Wales on February 7.
As always, the IRFU implemented their player welfare scheme over Christmas which meant players who were involved in the autumn series were given a break.
Normally, these two European rounds act as a final opportunity for players to impress in the white-heat of battle against top-quality, international-standard opposition.
Now, it is only the Munster and Leinster contingents who will have that chance to impress, which will hand them a significant advantage.
Not that the head coach will be pleased. Bundee Aki has played twice - once off the bench against Racing 92 and once from the start against Bristol before Christmas - since Ireland's win over Scotland in early December.
With Garry Ringrose still sidelined with a broken jaw, Farrell will be concerned that half of his starting centre partnership will be coming in cold.
Despite taking a limited part in Ireland's effort, Ulster pair Billy Burns and Stuart McCloskey were both given time off during the festive season and now risk being undercooked going into Ireland camp - if selected.
If he'd known there was going to be so few games, Farrell and his strength and conditioning lead Jason Cowman might have approached things differently.
Farrell plans on naming his squad in the days after the Munster v Leinster match, with the panel assembling later that week.
He has plenty of decisions to make and he'd have wanted to have more information.
Ulster props Eric O'Sullivan and Tom O'Toole, for example, may find the lack of games costly, while there will be no window for Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale to prove their fitness after their recent injuries.
So, it's advantage Munster and Leinster where Ireland players will go head-to-head across the park in what equates to a final trial for Six Nations spots.
Farrell will take solace for that at least. He's spoken about the need to be adaptable and the pandemic has thrown up challenge after challenge - and this is just another of those.