Super Rugby 2019: Aaron Cruden not part of Chiefs recovery plan

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper has shot down speculation that former All Black first-five Aaron Cruden may provide a solution to the crisis currently facing New Zealand rugby.

Earlier this month, the Waikato-based Super Rugby side lost the services of international utility Damian McKenzie with a knee ligament injury, a loss that has dramatic consequences for the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup defence last this year.

Fifty-test veteran Cruden seems to have fallen out of favour at his French Montpellier club this season and is apparently contemplating a move elsewhere.

All Blacks legend John Kirwan suggested NZ Rugby should swoop quickly to secure Cruden's services for the rest of the Super Rugby season and the World Cup campaign, but Cooper denies that's an option for the struggling Chiefs.

"I don't see that as a foreseeable option," says Cooper. "He's contracted, so we'll look at what we've got among our own group in our region and around the country."

The Chiefs' shortage of first-five/fullback cover was further exacerbated over the weekend, when they lost Jack Debreczeni to concussion during their loss to the Lions. Cooper admits that will change his approach to the dual-playmaker role.

"[Debreczeni] is not here," says Cooper. "He's still poorly, so once he's stopped having his headaches, he'll go through his protocols.

"That changes things slightly. We haven't got the quality of Damian or Jack to run the cutter, like other 10s."

The Chiefs currently lie last in Super Rugby's NZ conference and visit the second-placed Hurricanes on Saturday.


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Chiefs v Hurricanes Super Rugby clash.