A quality performance by New Zealand in Paris this weekend will have obvious short-term benefits. It could, however, come with the longer-term ramification of fuelling the French obsession with the All Blacks and send the big clubs scurrying for their chequebooks.

Having the All Blacks in Paris is Christmas come early for the owners of the Top 14 clubs - a chance to see to see for themselves these near mythical creatures that their respective coaches tell them so much about.

The test at Stade de France almost doubles as a shopping bazaar for the richest men in the game because French rugby seems to be impervious to any wider economic trends and virtually all the leading clubs have incredible amounts of money to throw about. And they want to throw it in the direction of a handful of All Blacks.

Israel Dagg, Aaron Cruden, Owen Franks and Elliot Dixon are believed to have French suitors chasing them and all of them are thought to be available to shift overseas after the Lions tour next year.


Other heavyweight All Blacks Ben Smith and Sam Whitelock are also coming off contract, but both are believed to be keen to extend their time in New Zealand.

And while TJ Perenara recently extended his contract, he only did so for one year, meaning he will be of significant interest to foreign clubs.

It may not feel like a new scenario. All Blacks have long been courted by overseas clubs, but a handful of factors have intensified the position.

The appetite for New Zealand players in France is now insatiable - driven higher by the change of selection eligibility criteria of both South Africa and Australia.

Buy a top Wallaby or South African these days and clubs can't be sure they will have them for the whole season. Buy an All Black and that is it - done deal, he's not going to be available to play test football.

That's a huge consideration for clubs when they scout for offshore talent. Secondly, competition for players within European markets has increased.

French rugby has long had a competitive advantage as their clubs, unlike their English counterparts, have never been restricted by a salary cap.

But now the cap in England sits at £7.5 million - almost triple what it was 10 years ago - plus there is provision to sign two marquee players outside the cap.

The English can make compelling offers to top players now - certainly comparable in many cases with what might be available for certain players in France.

Thirdly, across Europe, rugby has enjoyed a revenue boom, coming mainly from increased broadcast rights and no one stops to think about a rainy day - it is spend, spend and spend again.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew has constantly warned that players are under siege - that the battle to keep the best is relentless. Contract offers often don't make sense he says - they are ridiculously high without economic rational supporting them.

But that is how it is in France where there is an emotional attachment to the All Blacks: a deep respect and fascination that will most likely only increase after the test this weekend.
There is, rightly or wrongly, a perception in France that New Zealand's best players can do things leading players from other countries can't. There is most definitely a mystique which is why Toulon have set their sights on Dagg, who is expected to revert to his favoured fullback role in Paris.

He will have the perfect opportunity to show that he is the complete package: the perfect option to fit into any back three, wear any jersey and excel in any type of game.

Cruden is another who has generated significant interest in France and probably from the bench, he'll have an opportunity to show his composure, vision and kicking game.

Montpelier are the club tipped to mount the best offer and however much they want Cruden now, by next week it could have increased again.