Munster miss out on transfer target after star All Black opts to stay at home
Munster target Ben Smith has decided to spurn offers from Europe and stay in New Zealand to help Steve Hansen's side win a third straight World Cup.
The prospect of New Zealand fullback Smith leaving behind the lure of the All Blacks jersey - as well as turning down some big money French contracts - to join Munster always seemed a remote proposition given the financial clout of other interested parties.
Smith, a World Cup-winner in 2015, had been linked with a move to the southern province as well as Top 14 side Pau, who are coached by Kiwi Simon Mannix and have two former All Blacks, Conrad Smith and Colin Slade, in their ranks.
But ultimately, the carrot of winning a second World Cup with his country proved the biggest selling point for Smith, with the star attacker set to stay put after all.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Smith's new deal runs until 2020, although he has the option to terminate the contract after the 2019 World Cup, after which he could very well find himself playing in Europe.
However, by then Smith will be 33, and Munster will be disappointed that they weren't able to secure the signature of such a world class talent in his prime.