The Chiefs, Blues and Crusaders are locked in a three-way battle for the services of Sonny Bill Williams, who confirmed today he will play his rugby in New Zealand next season.
Williams has been "humbled" by the amount of support he has received from the New Zealand public and has cancelled plans to return overseas after the World Cup.
"I think when I first came it was just to make myself available to try and make the World Cup squad and then go back offshore and do my trade over there," Williams said.
"But just the amount of support, all generations from old people to young people, the amount of support is really humbling and at the same time really cool."
Williams, who is in Wellington preparing for the All Blacks' Tri Nations opener against South Africa on Saturday, plans to lock in a one-year extension to his NZRU contract before the World Cup but is undecided on his Super Rugby future.
"Yeah at this stage it's just one more year but things could change. It just keeps me on my toes, like I've said before, my year to year contracts. Chiefs, Blues or Crusaders, but it's tough, I'm just torn in three directions."
If Williams can star at the World Cup, his already powerful "brand" could potentially take off globally in similar fashion to Jonah Lomu, who announced himself at the 1995 tournament.
Williams said he was well aware of the pulling power of the black jersey.
"I've known for a long time what the All Black brand is and what it's about. When you're living in France and young kids are walking around that can't even speak English, wearing All Blacks jerseys, you know that the All Black brand is pretty big. But what surprised me is the amount of support I've got back here, it's been really humbling, just little kids coming up asking for signatures and grandmas and things like that, it's been pretty cool."
Williams, whose contract with the NZRU allowed him to box during this year's Super Rugby season, hopes to reach a similar arrangement for next year.
"Hopefully. We'll just have to see how it all goes eh."
Meanwhile, Williams declined an opportunity to reignite a war of words with Springboks coach Peter de Villiers, who in May described his flamboyant offloading style as "nonsense" and a poor example for young rugby players.
"Yeah oh well, you know, I've always had my detractors, my critics but as soon as you start worrying about them then it takes the focus off what I want to do and want to achieve. I can't really dwell on negatives or else I won't get to where I want to get to."