Richie McCaw has said that being both mentally and physically 100 per cent to continue playing Test rugby was key in his decision to rest for six months.
New Zealand's captain, who has 110 caps for his country and a RWC winners medal in his locker, will miss most of Super Rugby and June's Tests.
And he said that the overloaded schedule was a big reason why he chose to take a break from the game at the end of the November internationals.
"A lot of guys look at the calendar now and depending on where you are in your career think how you're going to deal with it. There's a lot of rugby these days," he told Fairfax Media.
"From my point of view I knew if I carried on relentlessly for the next couple of years without having this break then I'd probably get to the point where mentally, more than anything, you've just had enough. I didn't want that to be the case."
McCaw apparently discussed his playing future with Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder as they looked at how best to manage the flank's final playing years.
"I just think this is the right time. Toddy and I sat down and tried to map out how the next few years would look," he continued.
"The big thing I want to make sure is there is not a perception I'm just hanging in there and just being around for the sake of it. I still want to do it right and having that break is going to hopefully invigorate the next couple of years.
"I'm pretty keen to play as long as I can especially for the All Blacks, and in New Zealand; the break will hopefully allow me to play a bit longer.
"Part of it is physical, but it's also mental. Over the years I've never really had more than a couple of months off unless it's been injury-related so to be able to take a break, reassess and then play whatever time I've got left is a good opportunity."