The new Top14 season got underway at the weekend and many players were making their French rugby debuts after making moves from the southern hemisphere.
One of those players was 50 times capped All Black, Aaron Cruden. The 28-year-old left the Chiefs at the end of the Super Rugby season, finishing his international career in the process, to take up a three-year deal with Montpellier.
Cruden is often regarded as one of the most talented flyhalves in the world and if it wasn’t for the incredible talent of Beauden Barrett, he would surely be Steve Hansen’s number one man for the 10 position.
However, Cruden has decided to set up shop on the Mediterranean coast for the foreseeable future and he made his Top14 debut for Montpellier at the weekend in their crushing 48-19 victory over Agen.
Cruden started the game and was pivotal in his side’s victory, producing two assists in the eight try rout. One of those assists is certainly one for the highlight reel as Cruden dinks a cross-field ball to the destructive Nemani Nadolo who collected the ball and ran in for a simple try.
It has to be said, it was incredibly poor defending from Agen as two of their players should have dealt with Cruden’s kick but the targeting of that space from the former All Black shows the awareness and the execution that the 28-year-old possesses.
The huge win lifts Montpellier to the summit of the Top14 table, and they face Oyannax next weekend.
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