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All Black out-half Aaron Cruden commits to three years with Montpellier

The Chiefs star has chosen a life in France over another shot at the World Cup.

Cruden was part of a patched-up All Black back-line in Chicago.
Cruden was part of a patched-up All Black back-line in Chicago.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

NEW ZEALAND AND Waikato Chiefs out-half Aaron Cruden will leave his native country this year after signing a lucrative three-year deal with Montpellier.

The Top 14 club, who are backed by billionaire owner Mohed Altrad, have agreed a reported €800,000 per year contract with the 28-year-old.

Cruden won the first of his 47 All Black caps in the 66 – 28 win over Ireland in 2010. However, his chances to add to that figure will be limited as the move will take him out of international contention until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Cruden will travel to join Montpellier in August, after the completion of the Chiefs’ Super Rugby season and so he could play a part against the Lions if called upon by Steve Hansen.

Cruden had long been believed to be the natural successor to Dan Carter as New Zealand’s number 10, but since Carter’s move to France Beauden Barrett has taken over the starring role and won the 2016 world player of the year award.

In a statement released by the club this evening, Cruden cited Vern Cover, who will take over as head coach next season, as a major reason he chose to move to the southern French city.

“Montpellier is already a big club. I was very impressed by Mr Altrad’s enthusiasm and plan. After a long talk with Vern Cotter, I am convinced that the MHR will be one of the major players in European rugby over the next few years. I am very excited to participate in writing the history of the club.”

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Sean Farrell

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