All Blacks and Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden has yet to make a decision about his future and is unlikely to do so in the immediate near future.
The 42-cap star has been heavily linked with Top 14 side Montpellier and a number of Aviva Premiership sides recently, with the money-laden European Challenge Cup holders reportedly preparing to offer him a huge annual contract of $1.25 million plus bonuses.
Having fallen behind Beauden Barrett in the number ten pecking order and his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union coming to an end in 2017, there is growing speculation that he will head for foreign shores.
When asked about the increasing speculation regarding his future in a press conference during the week, before the All Blacks historic 37-10 win over Australia, he gave a rather terse reply.
”No, I’m not aware of it. Do you want to fill me in?”.
When informed of Montpellier’s interest in securing his services, he said: “I suppose you can’t believe everything you read in the media. I am off contract with New Zealand next year.
“Obviously I’m working through that at the moment. I’ve got a few decisions to make, but the time probably isn’t right now to be making those decisions. I guess coming back in after an injury lay-off, my focus is on the game this weekend.
“I haven’t put too much thought into it”.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen expressed his desire to keep the experienced pivot on New Zealand shores, and that more detailed discussions with Cruden about his future would probably happen during their upcoming four match autumn tour.
“We haven’t sat down and had a big discussion. He knows that we want him to stay and that discussion will probably happen when we are away. He’s not going to make that decision overnight.
“He’s a big part of who we are and what we do. He’s in our leadership group and he’s a good enough player to be a starting test player so we don’t want to lose him. That’s going to be a decision that he’ll make and he’ll make it for what’s right for him and his family.”
Palmerston-North born Cruden was a second-half replacement for Beauden Barrett on Saturday, converting two tries and kicking a penalty as the men in black chalked up their 18th consecutive win, thus breaking the World record for successive wins by a tier one nation.
It was the 2011 World Cup winner’s first taste of action in an All Black shirt since he sustained a groin injury last month during New Zealand’s 57-22 triumph over Argentina in Hamilton.
He will look to put pressure back on incumbent Beauden Barrett during the All Black’s four match overseas tour which sees them takes on Ireland in Chicago on November 5th, before they then take on Italy in Rome the following weekend. They will then head to Dublin to take on Ireland once again, before rounding off their season against France in Paris on November 26th.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.
Read More About: aaron cruden, All Blacks, beauden barrett, chiefs rugby, european challenge cup, extra bledisloe cup game 2016, France national rugby team, Ireland national rugby team, Italian national rugby team, montpellier, New Zealand Rugby Union, New Zealand rugby world record for successive wins, steve hansen