All Blacks superstar TJ Perenara will not swap rugby for league and has decided to remain in New Zealand.
The Herald understands the 66-cap veteran has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes after weeks of speculation linking him with a move to an NRL heavyweight.
The 29-year-old was in discussions with the Sydney Roosters about joining when his deal with the Red Hurricanes in Japan ends next month.
Perenara last month told the Herald he wouldn't be making a decision on his future until his season in the Top League finished.
The Osaka-based side lost in the quarter-finals over the weekend, with Perenara understood to have made a swift decision as a result.
He said at the time that it was a matter of now or never if he was to move to rugby league.
"If I don't make a decision and be part of an organisation this year, I don't know if I will do it again. It will be a commitment one way or the other. Committing to New Zealand Rugby, to home and the [Wellington] Hurricanes will take league off the table for my career," Perenara said.
It's understood Covid-19 is a big reason behind the decision to remain in New Zealand.
If Perenara was to sign with the Roosters, he'd also play in Japan again.
However, with Japan continuing to have rising cases and the unpredictability of the trans-Tasman bubble, Perenara and his young family prefer staying in New Zealand.
Perenara and his wife Greer last year announced the arrival of their first child – daughter Amaia.
Perenara explained last month that he was seriously considering the move and was doing his homework on the hooker position in the 13-man code, talking to current players.
"I've reached out to some boys with suggestions on who to watch. Who people think are the better nines in the game, who play the game well, what people expect from nines in the game. Just trying to get some dialogue into what firstly what other nines think other nines are good at and where I can work on my game before making a decision.
"And secondly what halves want from their nines. What do they expect from their nines in passing, kicking, running the game and organising. Just trying to get that knowledge to see where I could best fit."
Last month Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee told NZME they were keen to re-sign their former co-captain.
"I had a long Zoom call with him and his manager and spoke about the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. We didn't talk about rugby league, just talked about the Hurricanes and obviously we're keen to get him home. He said he's keen to be a Hurricane and be an All Black again," Lee said.
"He's got choices and if there is truth to the Roosters rumour then obviously he's more than able to have that conversation, so we only control our conversation with TJ and we know how much he loves the Hurricanes.
"If he comes home and is playing anywhere near what he normally would then he'll be in the All Blacks as well at Rugby World Cup 2023."
An official announcement from New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes is expected in the coming days.