Very few observers were shocked to learn that Aaron Cruden had taken the decision to leave New Zealand and join Montpellier on a three-year deal.
After falling behind Beauden Barrett in the All Blacks’ pecking order, Cruden’s departure had been expected. Indeed, last December French rugby site, Rugby 365, had even reported that Montpellier had secured the services of the 47 times capped New Zealand international.
Nevertheless, Cruden took the unusual step of publishing a video on the Chief’s You Tube channel, outlining his motivation for joining the Top club.
Although Cruden spoke of his excitement about moving to France and experiences it will bring, writing in Kiwi news site Stuff, Duncan Johnson described the fly-half’s move as a “defection”.
A strong criticism that will resonate with readers of John le Carré spy novels or historians of the Cold War. However, Cruden is not Guy Burgess or a member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. He has not traded state secrets or embarrassed New Zealand’s secret service.
What Cruden has done is accept a three-year contract worth €800,000 per year. A salary that will make the 28-year old one of the highest paid players in the world. Although the Chiefs’ playmaker will miss out on the opportunity to feature at the 2019 World Cup, he started at fly-half when New Zealand won the tournament in 2011.
While the opportunity of claiming another winners medal may have appealed to Cruden, he was presented the with the chance to earn a life changing salary in France. Indeed, given his age, it is doubtful a club like Montpellier would have made a similar offer in 2019.
Indeed, based on a list of rugby’s highest paid players published by the Irish Independent, Cruden will surpass the earnings of Leigh Halfpenny, Ma’a Nonu and Johnny Sexton when he does join Montpellier next season.
[tie_slide]10. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) – €540,000 per annum
[tie_slide]9. Bryan Habana (Toulon) – €570,000 per annum
[tie_slide]8. Charles Piutau (Ulster) – €600,000 per annum
[tie_slide]7. Johnny Sexton (Leinster and Ireland) – €600,000 per annum
[tie_slide]6. Ma’a Nonu (Toulon) – €600,000 per annum
[tie_slide]5. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) €600,000 per annum
[tie_slide]4. Aaron Cruden (Montpellier) €800,000 per annum
[tie_slide] 3. Matt Giteau (Toulon and Australia) €1.08m per annum
[tie_slide]2. Dan Carter (Racing 92) – €1.67m per annum
[tie_slide]1. Ayumu Goromaru (Toulon) – €1.67m+ per annum
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The Oval Office is up, featuring Johnny O’Connor and Charlie Sharples.
Read More About: aaron cruden, All Blacks, Ayumu Goromaru, bryan habana, charles piutau, chiefs, dan carter, Johnny Sexton, leigh halfpenny, ma'a nonu, manu tuilagi, matt giteau, montpellier, new zealand