Opinion: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg re-signing shows ABs jersey stronger than ever

With both Ben Smith and Israel Dagg choosing to stay in New Zealand rather than head to Europe, the lure of wearing the black jersey appears to be the strongest it's ever been.

Reporters wanted to know what makes Barrett the world’s best player but Dagg had a zinger of an answer to spark their friendly rivalry again. Source: 1 NEWS

Both Smith and Dagg signed new deals over the last week, keeping them on our shores for the foreseeable future, as the All Blacks aim to win three consecutive World Cups by the time Japan 2019 rolls around.

In the past, the lure of European sides has been too much for key All Blacks to turn down, with players opting for the financial security on offer as their international careers began to wind down.

Savea was back to his best against Los Pumas, and the All Blacks fullback was thankful to not be playing against him. Source: 1 NEWS

Star names like Jerry Collins, Carl Hayman and Doug Howlett were just some of the many All Blacks to take the offer from top clubs, while new rules had to be bought in to keep the likes of Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu with New Zealand Rugby.

However, this no longer appears to be the case.

True, the likes of Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina have opted out of New Zealand to ply their trade in France, key All Blacks like Smith and Dagg, as well as Owen Franks chose to stay, opting to chase history rather than the Euro.

The All Blacks utility back admits his family was a big reason why he turned down offers from overseas. Source: 1 NEWS

Not that it's a bad thing for players to look at European and now Japanese deals when they appear to be on the outer of the All Blacks environment, in no other job are people expected to turn down large sums of money to remain in one place, players leaving may not be good, but their decisions need to be respected.

In the case of Smith and Dagg, money appears to be the least of their worries, both have young families that they're eager to see grow up on home shores around their friends and relatives.

Both would have been offered incredible sums of money by the likes of clubs in France, England and Ireland, yet the appeal of being part of an All Blacks side that are now being considered among the best of all time looks to have won out.

All Blacks' Ben Smith, Kieran Read & Israel Dagg hold the Steinlager Trophy Source: Photosport

So while in the past players have looked to leave as soon as the prospect of more pay for less work became available, this current generation of All Blacks are different.

With a Lions tour later this year, as well as what would be an unprecedented third straight World Cup triumph possible in 2019, players are putting their hands up to be a part of what could be the best side to ever play international rugby, and for Ben Smith and Israel Dagg, they'll be pretty close to the front of the queue.