All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane's desire to be part of rugby legacy at international and Super Rugby Pacific level proved greater than a move overseas when putting ink to a contract that will see him in New Zealand until 2027.
Ioane, 26, who has 52 Tests for the All Blacks and 92 games for the Blues behind him, said there were options to play overseas, and that was a privilege, but the ties of home, family and legacy proved more enticing.
A sabbatical clause is included in his new contract, but, at this stage, it wasn't front of mind.
"It might get to a couple of years and I feel I need something new. That also provides the benefit of coming back and joining Auckland, or whatever rugby is on at the time."
Two players in the Blues who have spent time in Japan on shorter-term contracts, Beauden Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu, had talked with him about rugby in that environment.
"They're two experienced All Blacks, in similar, but different, situations. They said that break away, whether it's just from the game in New Zealand, or just [going] somewhere new, that breath of fresh air, is a good option to have."
The show goes on pic.twitter.com/WsEx4Oy6Vr— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) April 16, 2023
Having been through some challenging years with the Blues as they attempted to regain their stature at the top of the New Zealand game was another driver for his decision.
"Growing up in Auckland and coming to the Blues, we endured those tough seasons at the beginning, and now it's looking to create that winning culture.
"You can't have a legacy without titles, so titles would be a good place to start, with our sole focus on this year first.
"If we get this year right, I'll be pretty happy."
Motivations and goals were changeable, but for the moment, he was happy with his deal, and now it was about focusing on the Blues.
Statistical goals were less critical and relied on availability and the ability to contribute. One mark in prospect is 100 games for the Blues, something he could achieve if they reach the playoffs.
But if home fans were concerned that there have only been smatterings of the Ioane class on show for the Blues, he was conscious of the need to be performing at the right end of the season.
"You've got to keep pushing forward. If I can keep doing that, and our team is trending the way they are, it's only going to be beneficial. I've got levels to go to," he said.