A heart-to-heart with brother Rico proved the turning point for Hosea Gear as he struggled to decide his rugby future earlier this month.
Originally omitted from the 35-strong All Blacks wider training group named two weeks ago, Gear had all but decided to ply his trade in Japan for the Toshiba club.
"I'd pretty much sorted myself, I was ready to go," he said.
But Rico Gear, who played 19 Tests for New Zealand between 2004 and 2007 before heading to Japan, asked his younger brother if he was satisfied with what he had achieved in his nine games for New Zealand since 2008.
"He asked me the question, am I fulfilled with what I've achieved in the black jersey and the answer was no," Hosea Gear said.
"He's been in this position as well, so I'm quite fortunate that he's got that experience."
The lure of the black jersey having proven too strong, 28-year-old Gear opted to stay in New Zealand.
An injury to winger Cory Jane gave him a second chance, and Gear was named along with hooker Hika Elliot as a late addition to the All Blacks wider training group.
The players gathered in Wellington on Sunday for a second training camp ahead of the three-Test series against Ireland beginning in Auckland on June 9.
Key in Gear's decision was the no-nonsense approach from new All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
"We've always said that if there's two people with similar qualities and similar form, then the guy that stays is going to get the reward," Hansen said.
"It's not for us to tell him what to do. He's got to decide if the desire and his dream of being an All Black is greater than going to Japan, and clearly it was."
Gear is well aware that he still has plenty of work to do, but says his inclusion in the wider training group is a good starting point."It's just another stepping stone to achieve what I want to achieve."