All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has admitted he considered leaving the Blues whilst weighing up his rugby future.
Ioane today re-signed with New Zealand Rugby and the Blues on a four-year deal, but while staying put in New Zealand proved to be an easy decision, he admits there was a temptation to leave the Super Rugby strugglers.
"For me personally, there's always that temptation. Seeing the franchises do a lot better than we did, there's always going to be that temptation," said Ioane.
"But for me the huge factor is being at home. I'm a proud Aucklander and I want to inspire the change that hopefully gets us to where we need to get to."
While a number of Kiwi rugby stars have chased big contracts offshore in recent years, the 21-year-old winger knew he had more to prove at home.
"I want to establish myself in New Zealand," Ioane said. "I'm still a young fulla, so the black jersey is enough for me. It's enough to keep me here."
Since breaking onto the international stage last year, Ioane has become a weapon for the All Blacks with 18 tries to his name in as many tests.
While Ioane's new contract expires the year before the 2023 Rugby World Cup, All Black coach Steve Hansen was confident the dynamic winger would still be available for selection when the time came.
"The jersey's still important to him, and that's a wonderful thing," Hansen said. "It still means a lot to a lot of young people and older people – that's why they're still here.
"I think it's great for NZ Rugby – particularly the All Blacks and the Blues. He's a special player and he's only at the beginning of his career.
"He's signed the contract to stay here and try to be a better rugby player, so it's our job to make sure that happens."