One of the worst kept secrets in New Zealand Rugby is finally official; another All Black is heading to France, as Aaron Cruden Signs with Montpellier.
Cruden has signed a three-year, $2.4m (NZ) contract with French club Montpellier. The deal will see Cruden become the second-highest paid player in the French Top 14; behind former All Black team mate Daniel Carter.
The 28-year old has long been linked to a deal in French rugby, and finally today, it’s confirmed. Cruden will see out the remainder of his contract with New Zealand Rugby, meaning he will still be available for All Black selection in the British & Irish Lions series.
Aaron Cruden Signs with Montpellier
News of Cruden’s departure broke this morning when Montpellier president Mohed Altrad confirmed Cruden had signed a contract during an interview with Radio Sport. Reaction by New Zealand media has been mixed, with the Chiefs first-five unavailable for comment but all indicators are that he was swayed by the high value contract.
— RadioLIVE (@RadioLIVENZ) January 17, 2017
Cruden has played 47 tests for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2010. In Super Rugby, Cruden has led the Chiefs and amassed 73 caps. He will play this final 2017 season under outgoing coach Dave Rennie.
Before a season-ending injury in 2015, and then the sensational rise of Beauden Barrett last year; Cruden was a regular starter at first five for the All Blacks. His loss will reduce the stocks for Steve Hansen–but behind every talented player in New Zealand, there is a long list waiting. Lima Sopoaga, Damian McKenzie and others will reconsider their futures past 2018 now.
Last Word On Rugby wish Aaron Cruden all the best, and hope to watch him play a role in Super Rugby and the British and Irish Lions tour of 2017.
“Main photo credit”