Top players sacrificing huge overseas money to stay as All Blacks, reveals Steve Tew

If push comes to shove, New Zealand Rugby have no chance of keeping hold of their top players, such is the financial might of overseas clubs, CEO Steve Tew says.

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The New Zealand Rugby boss holds his hands up over the financial strength of foreign clubs. Source: Sunday

With the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year to bring about the end of another four-year contract cycle in New Zealand rugby circles, a number of players will leave for overseas clubs, seeing out their playing careers with one last financial windfall.

Players such as Kieran Read, Owen Franks and Ryan Crotty are among those to have chosen to leave, while others like Sam Whitelock and Beauden Barrett have committed to New Zealand Rugby through to France 2023.

Speaking to TVNZ's Sunday, NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew revealed the kind of sums that players - both past and present - are turning down to stay in All Blacks reckoning.

"[Players could earn] millions of dollars," Tew said.

"I won't name the current crop, but Richie [McCaw] and Dan [Carter] made significant financial sacrifices to stay and play in New Zealand."

Tew also praised the current group of All Blacks, also turning down large offers to cement themselves as greats of the game.

"Kieran Read has made a significant financial sacrifice, same with Sam Whitelock. The current crop of Beauden, Brodie [Retallick] and co are earning a lot less money than they could, but they have an opportunity to be great All Blacks.

"They have an opportunity to build a personal legacy that will set them up for life, and that's important to them, and fortunately that's helpful for us."

This weekend on TVNZ's SUNDAY show, John Campbell goes inside the Manu Samoa camp as they prepare for the Rugby World Cup, and investigates the impact professional rugby and the big money on offer in Europe is having on the Pacific.