Jonah Lomu, the New Zealand winger who was the undisputed star of the World Cup, is close to signing a package that will keep him in the game for three years - denting the hopes of numerous rugby league sides.
The amount offered to Lomu has not been disclosed and other leading All Blacks could also soon be offered pounds 88,000 plus annual contracts, according to a New Zealand newspaper, the Sunday Star-Times.
The newspaper said there was a strong push for an annual base payment of about pounds 66,000 per year for all players who are selected for the New Zealand side.
Laurie Mains, the All Blacks coach, said in the article: "A package has been agreed to by Jonah and Phil Kingsley-Jones (his manager). Now Jonah has to be given time during the next few days to go over it.
"What Jonah has said to the team and ourselves is that he wants to play in the next World Cup. Hopefully, it is just a matter of us being able to finalise things."
Lomu said the highlight of the World Cup for him was being introduced to the South African president Nelson Mandela before the final.
"I was standing there, trying to focus my attentions on the grand final and Nelson Mandela just walked in front of me. Before I could be officially introduced he said: 'Jonah, it's great to meet you.' I was surprised he even knew my name."Reuse content