One week Lima Sopoaga is warning the world that All Blacks will be leaving for Europe in their droves and the next Rieko Ioane commits to stay in New Zealand for four more years.

Ioane, easily the hottest property in the world game at just 21, has given New Zealand Rugby precisely the sort of victory they needed in the battle of player retention.

Sopoaga's headline-making last week might in fact have been fake news and far from being on the verge of an exodus, the re-signing of Ioane may be the beginning of a cluster of key All Black retentions.

There's a collective big picture to consider in this race to sign up individuals: a need to understand that building a team is not so different to building a house in that there needs to be a strong foundation.


Rieko Ioane signs four-year All Blacks deal

In the case of the All Blacks, there are always high priority, must-have signatures.

In the wake of the 2007 World Cup debacle, NZR made it their first priority to persuade Richie McCaw and Dan Carter to recommit through to the next tournament.

McCaw was sure in his mind he wanted to, but he drove to Carter's house one night to make sure his team-mate was thinking the same way.

If Carter, who was wavering and hence was offered a six-month sabbatical option to get him over the line, had said no to staying, who knows, McCaw might have reconsidered his own position.

Instead they both committed until 2011 and with those two locked in, the likes of Mils Muliaina, Ali Williams and Rodney So'oialo had the confidence to follow, as did Tony Woodcock, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

Two signatures changed All Blacks history in 2008 as they probably did in 2015 when Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea signed four-year deals.

The usual World Cup year market pressure was being applied and NZR needed its two next generation foundation players to make a statement.

Which they did and with Retallick and Savea making such a long commitment, that was the catalyst for Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock to also sign up for another World Cup crack in 2019.

Ioane is a foundation signing for the next World Cup cycle and it's the length of his contract which is significant.

The last two emerging superstars that NZR contracted, only extended their commitment by 12 months.

For different reasons, neither Ardie Savea nor Jordie Barrett were willing to sign beyond the next World Cup, creating a sense of fragility about NZR's pulling power.

If Ioane had made a similarly short-term commitment, the game here would have had an unacceptable level of vulnerability.

NZR didn't want Ioane open to offshore offers in World Cup year because inevitably some mad French club owner would have stumped up an outrageous offer and history has shown when the money is in the millions, players suddenly consider embarking on a radically different career path.

But with Ioane in for the long haul, the prospect of NZR being able to persuade Jordie Barrett and possibly Savea to commit for longer has increased.

Perhaps more significantly, the knowledge that there will be phenomenal finishing power on the left wing, should be a factor in helping the likes of Retallick, Whitelock, Cane and Beauden Barrett also sign up for longer.

These four are critical to the All Blacks' longer-term future and NZR would ideally like them all to have signed deals ahead of the 2019 World Cup that will keep them here until the 2023 tournament.

Ioane's signature doesn't guarantee others will follow, but it helps. And the value of keeping Ioane here goes beyond the fact that he's young, brilliant and inspirational.

He's also committing to the troubled Blues and giving them a vote of confidence they can't be sure they deserve but one they are massively grateful for nevertheless.

Fixing Auckland rugby and the Blues is almost an equally high priority for NZR as wider player retention.

The region needs local heroes and figures around him a new culture of success can be built.

Rieko and his brother Akira who has signed until 2021 are big bricks in that particular building project and there is no denying that the Blues, against all the odds, have somehow landed a treasure trove of rugby intelligence and ability in the last few months.

Not only have the Ioane boys committed, but so too has the quite sensationally talented Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Ofa Tuungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu have also signed, as has Ma'a Nonu who could end up being hailed the smartest piece of business of all.

With Leon MacDonald and Tom Coventry joining the coaching ranks and John Hart bringing a balanced dose of rugby insight and strong governance to the newly formed board, the Blues might just be picking themselves up the floor.