Your version of newSVrv wouldn't work [before Perl 5.12]
It's not a version of newSVrv, and you're free to do the exercise yourself for 5.10.
Can RVs have a PV string pointer
Like you just said, there's no such thing as an RV anymore.
Does an RV always have to be of type SVt_IV (5.12) or any SV with ROK can be a reference?
Latter. Even before 5.12.
The sv_replace seems like the safest idea while i'm writing this.
That's quite an understatement.
There is a missing refcount inc on sv before "SvRV_set(rv, sv);".
You're saying that newSVrv causes referenced material to be destroyed permaturely. I don't believe you.
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