Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains says the national team's brand is sacrosanct and must be kept under New Zealand Rugby's control.
Mains has come out swinging after hearing news the All Blacks could soon be partially controlled by American interests.
That's according to media coverage in the UK, where Sky News is reporting California-based private equity firm Silver Lake is set to acquire a 15 percent stake in New Zealand Rugby's commercial rights arm.
A deal could reportedly be reached as early as this month.
Mains said today he would hate to see any damage done to New Zealand Rugby's control of the All Blacks brand.
"The New Zealand rugby brand, the silver fern, is sacrosanct," he told Morning Report.
"Rugby is struggling for funding at the moment and that's throughout the world, not just New Zealand.
"So there may well be a need, and a justifiable need, for outside money to come in, but before I could say this is good for New Zealand rugby I would need to know just exactly what it entails and how it ties up the New Zealand Rugby Union."
Mains went further, suggesting he does not want any offshore interests having control of the brand.
"Control of that silver fern, the brand, the All Black brand, needs to remain 100 percent in the hands of New Zealand Rugby," he said.
Details of the deal are scarce.
New Zealand Rugby said: "We are on a path to look at what an investor partner for New Zealand Rugby might look like - which is a very exciting prospect for us - but we do not have any further comment to make at this time."
Silver Lake declined RNZ's request for further information. Instead, former New Zealand Rugby boss David Moffett gave some insight into what Silver Lake stood to gain if it secured the 15 percent minority stake.
"When you think about what that comprises - the commercial rights - it is the broadcasting rights, it's sponsorship rights, then there are also things like ticket sales, food and beverage and the like at test matches," he said.
However, Sky News' report, that the 15 percent stake was at a $2 billion valuation, raised an eyebrow, Moffett said.
"What they're going to have to have is a product that supports that valuation," he said.
"So, you know, if they're not playing South Africa every year, or they're not playing three Bledisloes and the like ... it seems to be a large number.
"However, if there's somebody out there willing to pay it then I think you'll have to go with it."
Many questions unanswered - academic
Meanwhile, Massey University School of Economics and Finance senior lecturer Dr Sam Richardson said media reports on the deal leave numerous questions unanswered.
Silver Lake also part-owns Manchester City football club - a professional sports team.
In this deal, it would be buying into a national sporting body, in New Zealand Rugby.
"What does this mean for the Super Rugby clubs, who are professional clubs in their own right? What does this mean for the competitions that the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby are involved in?" he asked.
"If we're talking about an ownership stake from a media company, what does that mean for broadcasting? What does that mean for Sky TV?"
Dr Richardson is not surprised by the deal, given New Zealand Rugby has made it clear it's open to anyone who wants to invest.
The deal would reportedly involve investing money raised to develop rugby union.
But Dr Richardson said the complex structure of the game in New Zealand - with tiers of provincial, Super Rugby and national teams - means more clarity is needed before understanding whether that would work.