Cape Town - All Blacks utility back Charles Piutau has dropped a major bombshell by signing a two-year deal with Irish club Ulster that's thought to be worth close to $1 million a season.
According to the Stuff.co.nz website, Piutau's sudden post-Rugby World Cup departure comes as a shock to all involved.
It was thought he was poised to re-sign, alongside team-mate Steven Luatua, with New Zealand Rugby and the Blues within the next two weeks.
Clearly, though, the chance to bank $2 million in a favourable tax system and set himself up for life was too good to turn down.
The 23-year-old is following the modern trend of players - the likes of Rene Ranger, Frank Halai, Luke Braid, Andre Taylor, Tom Taylor, Tyler Bleyendaal and Bundee Aki - jumping at the mindboggling money at a much younger age than previous generations.
In this case, Piutau will back himself to return for another crack at the All Blacks, but like any player leaving he risks the production line overtaking him in that time.
It also highlights the unprecedented offshore demand for New Zealand's premier rugby talent.
Piutau will forgo the potential of competing in sevens at next year's Olympic Games, and the prestigious British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017.
At present he probably sits behind Julian Savea and Ben Smith in the outside backs rankings, but he was expected to be included in the World Cup squad.