Japan remains a major poaching threat to New Zealand's elite rugby players but the allure of Europe is fading, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says.
While the departure of provincial New Zealand talent overseas continues at a steady rate, there hasn't been an exodus of top-flight All Blacks to the same extent over the past 12 months.
A swag of established All Blacks walked through the departure gates after the 2007 World Cup.
However, it has been a comparative trickle since last year's world championship triumph on home soil.
Hansen attributes that trend to the parlous financial state of Europe, along with more flexible contracts for leading All Blacks who choose to stay at home.
"Once upon a time you could go overseas and get paid three times as much because the pound and the euro were very strong," Hansen told Radio Sport.
"The big incentive for the dollar and tax advantages that you used to have over there have now gone. There's a little bit of fool's gold there.
"Obviously Japan is still a major consideration because they're paying ludicrous money for people to go up there and money that we just can't compete with."
Recent evidence supports Hansen's theory.
The highest-profile losses since last October's World Cup final have been fullback Mils Muliaina, lock Brad Thorn, outside back Isaia Toeava and midfield back Sonny Bill Williams - all to Japanese clubs.
Others to make notable departures were wing Sitiveni Sivivatu and prop Neemia Tialata to France, while first five-eighth Stephen Donald shifted to England.
Hansen said those going to Europe would also find they weren't escaping the heavy, year-round commitments that confront top New Zealand players in Test matches, Super Rugby and the national provincial championship.
"The regime that the guys in Europe are playing is just as tough as ours.
"Obviously there's not as much travel ... but the workload is just as much and the daily grind is just as much.
"So we have to make our environment as stimulating as we can so they don't want to leave."
It is understood top All Blacks such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu have "sabbaticals" included in their contracts, allowing them to leave New Zealand rugby for a period - either to play overseas or to take a break.
First five-eighth Carter broke new ground when he took a six-month sabbatical at French club Perpignan from late 2008 and Hansen expects more of them before the 2015 World Cup.
"It's in their contracts so I'm assuming at some stage they will consider it. And they'll consider because they'll want to get themselves through to the World Cup.
"If they do take a sabbatical, it's an opportunity for someone else to get game time and to grow. That probably wouldn't be a bad thing for someone like Aaron Cruden (for Carter) or Sam Cane (for McCaw).
"We can have the best of both worlds if that does happen."