According to a report by the Daily Mail's Chris Foy, New Zealand are considering releasing three of their superstars for two-year sabbaticals in Japan, in an attempt to fight off a growing financial threat to their test dominance.
The report suggests that Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick and Rieko Ioane are the front-line players who may be allowed to join Japanese teams in order to keep them away from Europe.
The New Zealand Rugby Union are battling to prevent a damaging exodus of their leading men to French and English clubs. Recently the have lost the likes of Lima Sopoaga, Julian Savea, Charles Piutau, Charlie Faumuina and Aaron Cruden to European sides - all of which still had a future in the squad before leaving the country.
Which is why the NZRU are considering emergency steps in an attempt to protect the All Blacks success going forward.
Recent reports have linked the likes of Sam Whitelock and Nehe Milner-Skudder to clubs in France while some French outlets are reporting that Ben Smith has already signed a short-term deal with Pau for after the World Cup with Ardie Savea expected to follow.
The NZRU struggles to compete with the high wages players earn abroad has also seen calls for the New Zealand government to subsides the All Blacks with Steven Hansen backing the calls.