At 3pm tomorrow, 15 bulky representatives of Irish manhood from north and south of the border will step out on to a field at Twickenham to play England in rugby.
Jacob Stockdale, son of an Armagh Presbyterian preacher man, and Robbie Henshaw, son of an engineer from Athlone, will line out alongside each other for a team that unites the island.
Recognising the fact that the team comes from both jurisdictions, the Irish national anthem will not be played. Instead, we will hear 'Ireland's Call', an anthem that grates on the nerves of some listeners, but which recognises the diversity of the team.
The rugby historian Liam O'Callaghan, lecturer in sport at Liverpool Hope University, says: "Rugby has been remarkably successful in operating as a 32-county operation. It is a good example of how north-south cooperation can occur. It is remarkable that the unity of the game has been preserved."
At one time, the rugby authorities did not fly the tricolour at matches, but chose the "four provinces" flag instead out of respect for Northern players.
So if the island of Ireland can scrum down together for rugby internationals with a passion that knows no bounds, can it soon be united as a viable political entity?
That is a question that is increasingly being asked in the wake of Brexit and the unprecedented success of Sinn Féin in Dáil elections.
It is not just being discussed in Belfast and Dublin, but it is also being pondered among the London intelligentsia.
In recent days, the cover of The Economist magazine had a striking cover with an image of the green island of Ireland with a zip, ready to be opened, marking the contours of the border.
The headline read: "A united Ireland: Could it really happen?"
Housing and health may have been uppermost in the minds of voters who turned out to vote for Sinn Féin in the election, and according to the exit poll on election day, Irish unity hardly registered as an issue.
But Sinn Féin sees their success as a mandate for a border poll. It was the first item on the agenda in SF's election manifesto.
In bold print the party spelled it out: "In Government... Sinn Féin will secure a referendum, north and south, on Irish unity."
Until now, a united Ireland seemed like a pipe dream, a pious belief that was part of the Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil creeds.
Over the decades it seemed so far-fetched that few felt the need to explore the practicalities.
But that has changed since Brexit and the wrenching of the six counties out of the European Union against the wishes of the majority of Northern voters.
Dr Marisa McGlinchey, a Coventry University politics lecturer who grew up in West Belfast, says: "When I was younger, we talked about a united Ireland, but I did not think it would happen in my lifetime. It's more likely to happen now. If you were talking about it before Brexit, the conversation would have been very different."
So is the notion of a unified country of 6.6 million people really credible, and what would the country look like?
Arlene Foster came down to Dublin to appear on The Late Late Show in recent weeks, but would she and the likes of Ian Paisley Junior be happy to commute to the capital as members of a minority party in a 32-county Dáil?
Would RTÉ have to ditch the Angelus bell before the Six One news in favour of more secular noises as it takes over BBC Northern Ireland, and would we have to devise a compromise on the issue of a national anthem?
Perhaps, from Belfast to Ballydehob, we'll all be singing 'God Save Michael D' at important ceremonial events.
If nothing else, a united Ireland would give us a greater chance of winning the football World Cup. As a result of partition, we have lost out on such legendary names as George Best, Derek Dougan and Pat Jennings - and a united Ireland would surely increase our haul of Olympic medals.
Just as talk of a united Ireland seemed to reach fever pitch, with The Economist cover story appearing while the Shinners painted the town green after their election victory, a survey appeared in the Belfast Telegraph.
It appeared, on the face of it, to pour a bucket of cold water on the idea of bringing our four green fields together - at least in the short term.
A survey led by Liverpool University found that less than a third of people in Northern Ireland would vote for a united Ireland if a border poll was held tomorrow.
A total of 29pc would support Irish unity but 52pc would back remaining in the UK if a referendum was held imminently.
The survey shows that Sinn Féin still has a long way to go before winning over the middle ground in Northern Ireland - the soft unionists and others who opposed Brexit, but have no desire to leap longingly into the arms of the republic.
Nevertheless, writing in the Belfast Telegraph as the survey appeared, University of Liverpool politics professor Jon Tonge suggested the survey has some positive signs for nationalists.
The number in favour of staying put with Boris's Britain is only a bare majority (52pc) and there are many don't knows - and this does not signal overwhelming enthusiasm for staying in the UK.
According to Tonge, there has been a 2pc rise in support for Irish unification since the 2017 British general election.
That rate of increase every two-and-a-half years would produce a majority for a united Ireland within two decades.
If Brexit has taught us anything, it is that redrawing boundaries is a complex business and it helps if you work out some of the finer details about how it might work, and what the costs might be.
Edgar Morgenroth, professor of economics at Dublin City University, says that whatever form Irish unity takes, there is likely be a heavy economic cost for both parts of the island.
Northern Ireland relies heavily on subventions from the British government of around €10bn per year, and hopes that the UK government would continue paying for a prolonged period after unification seem optimistic.
According to Professor Morgenroth, if the Irish government has to take on these obligations, it will come at an enormous cost. The payments to Northern Ireland from London amount to our entire budget on education, or half of our health budget. The economist says Northern Ireland will also lose out if it has to have a trade border with the UK.
"I am not for or against a united Ireland, but we are going to have to have an honest discussion about what the costs will be. We have to ask if it's a price worth paying," says Professor Morgenroth.
"In the short term there will be very significant costs. In the long term there is a potential for economic benefits, but that is by no means certain."
The economics professor said we should be making plans for what would happen in a united Ireland. "It could happen very quickly," he says. "German reunification happened very quickly and they made a lot of mistakes, because they were not ready for it."
Would a devolved government continue in Stormont, or would there be a unitary state with a 32-county parliament in Leinster House?
In the early part of the Troubles, republicans recommended a federal structure with assemblies for each of the provinces, and a central parliament based in Athlone. Under those plans, Ulster would have been administered as nine counties.
However, the Éire Nua concept became unfashionable, particularly among Northern republicans, because it was felt that it could be used by Northern unionists to reinforce their dominance.
In its manifesto, Sinn Féin does not spell out what kind of structure it favours. It promises to establish an all-Ireland Citizens' Assembly to plan for Irish unity.
In 2017, a Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, suggested that a devolved assembly could continue in the North in a united Ireland.
What happens if the majority votes for a united Ireland, but a significant unionist minority is unhappy with the outcome?
In that case, one disenchanted minority pressing for constitutional change, may be replaced by another.
"If we are talking about costs, we will have to consider policing," says Professor Morgenroth. "If loyalists start making trouble in a united Ireland, the costs will go way up and it would not be a good situation."
While Sinn Féin wants to move towards a border poll in the next five years, others believe that the move to a united Ireland should be an evolutionary process.
They tend to follow the mantra of John Hume that before you unite the territory, you have to unite the people.
In many parts of the North, the two communities lead parallel lives and this has been slow to break down, particularly in the education system. Over 90pc of pupils are educated in schools that are segregated by faith, and 90pc of public housing continues to be segregated.
The recent cover story in the The Economist suggests that the next census will show that Catholics outnumber Protestants, but many observers believe that pro-unity campaigners cannot just rely on a tribal headcount to achieve their goals. A growing number of people in the North do not define themselves under the traditional labels of nationalist and unionist.
A recent Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey found 55pc of women and 45pc of men said they were neither unionist nor nationalist.
Hugo MacNeill played alongside men from a unionist background such as Trevor Ringland and Keith Crossan when he was full back for the Irish team.
The chairman of the British Irish Association, who is currently running for a seat in the Seanad, says he is proud of the role of rugby in bringing two parts of the island together in one team.
He says the unfinished business of the Good Friday Agreement is establishing mutual respect and understanding.
"If you are trying to create something that is acceptable to Northern unionists, you have to have an understanding of what is important to them.
"It may not be as sexy as rushing to a border poll, but you have to achieve reconciliation and mutual understanding first.
"It would be catastrophic to try to force something before you create the conditions in which it can operate successfully."
MacNeill says that we have to look at what elements of Britishness would be incorporated into any united Ireland.
He says every year there are grumbles about having 'Ireland's Call' as an anthem for the Ireland team as opposed to 'Amhrán na BhFiann'.
"That misses the point that the Irish rugby team is not that of the republic but that of the entire island, with all its diversity and richness. For those who have problems with 'Ireland's Call', wait until we get on to the real issues."
One lesson of the Troubles is that symbols matter, and there is every possibility that we would have to dispense with the tricolour if unionists are expected to make do without the Union flag.
Caoimhín de Barra, a historian at Gonzaga University in Washington, says the "four-provinces" flag, which used to fly at Irish rugby internationals, would be the most straightforward solution, but many would want something entirely new.
Would it be a tall order to expect unionists to give up their attachment to the royal family, and all the symbolism attached to that?
Even Mary Lou McDonald has suggested that the idea of rejoining the Commonwealth should be considered and debated, even though she later clarified the matter and said she was not herself in favour of it.
There is a consensus in Northern Ireland that Brexit has made a united Ireland more likely, but the latest surveys suggest that it is not going to happen any time soon. And the painful experience of Brexit shows that it certainly will not be easy.