Dan Carter's decision to re-sign with New Zealand rugby is expected to trigger Richie McCaw to do the same.
With Carter signing a four-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union, which could result in him playing in his fourth World Cup in 2015, his Crusaders captain McCaw is tipped to join him and ensure the All Blacks carry two of their biggest names into next season.
Although admitting he wavered between signing multimillion-dollar deals with French and English clubs, Carter, 29, announced yesterday he would stay in New Zealand.
Now McCaw, who had indicated he had no desire to play overseas, is expected to follow Carter's lead, with the NZRU expected to soon announce they have captured the signature of another of the world's best players.
If ever the NZRU needed another point to sway All Blacks skipper McCaw, 30, the addition of Carter will surely seal the deal and chief executive Steve Tew acknowledged his contract would be a powerful bargaining tool.
"I think it will be important – as it was last time Dan committed to us. We had some players that were on the edge, if you like, about whether to stay," Tew said.
Carter's new contract will allow him to activate several clauses including the prospect of playing overseas or taking a break from the sport.
Although the pair were firm friends and had been All Black team-mates since 2003, Carter said that he did not try to influence McCaw.
"We try and keep things reasonably separate.
"Fingers crossed, hopefully he signs at some stage."
Contractual status of All Blacks World Cup contenders :
Locked in: Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu, Hikawera Elliot, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Daniel Braid, Liam Messam, Victor Vito, Jimmy Cowan, Alby Mathewson, Colin Slade, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Aaron Cruden
Pending: Richie McCaw, Andrew Hore, Ma'a Nonu, Stephen Donald, Piri Weepu, Mils Muliaina, Owen Franks, Sonny Bill Williams, Cory Jane, Josevata Rokocoko, Isaia Toeava, Hosea Gear, Andy Ellis, Richard Kahui
Gone: Neemia Tialata (France), John Afoa (Ireland), Sitiveni Sivivatu (France), Mike Delany (Japan), Luke McAlister (France), Brad Thorn (Japan)