Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains thinks Richie McCaw's decision to take six months off will help develop another top-class openside flanker.
McCaw, 31, will miss the first half of next season to take a sabbatical.
The clause was written into his four-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union signed before the World Cup last year.
He hopes the time away from the game will allow him to prolong his career which is now into its 12th year.
"I'm pretty keen to play as long as I can. I realised that the break might allow me to play a bit longer.
"Part of it is physical but part of it is just mental - over the years I've never really had more than a couple of months off," he said from Buenos Aires.
The move has the backing of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his coach at the Crusaders, Todd Blackadder, who both hoped the 110-Test All Black would return to the game reinvigorated.
"I would expect him to come back fitter, stronger and more passionate than what he is at the moment and that sounds pretty exciting," Blackadder told Radio New Zealand.
Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains told the broadcaster McCaw's absence could have a positive spin-off for other loose forwards in the country.
"Because he's been there so long and been so good and always been number one, we probably haven't developed a second tier No.7 to the level that we should.
"I think this gives another player a great opportunity to position themselves in behind Richie as the back-up seven and so that's a positive for All Black rugby," Mains said.
Contenders for the role include the Chiefs' Sam Cane, McCaw's understudy at the Crusaders, Matt Todd, and 26-Test All Black Adam Thomson.
NZRU boss Steve Tew said McCaw would lead the side on their end of year tour to Europe but was then unlikely to play any rugby until after the All Blacks' three-Test home series against France in June next year.