Super Rugby 2020: Aaron Cruden returns after signing with Chiefs

Aaron Cruden last played for the Chiefs in 2017.
Aaron Cruden last played for the Chiefs in 2017. Photo credit: Photosport

Former All Blacks first-five Aaron Cruden is returning to New Zealand after signing with the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise. 

Cruden last played for the Chiefs in 2017 and has been playing in France with Montpellier.

The 30-year-old will spend the 2020 season playing for the Hamilton-based side, where he won two Super Rugby titles, before heading off to Japan.

As this season's Japanese Top League was pushed back from its usual start time in September to January, because of the Rugby World Cup, Cruden was available to play Super Rugby before heading to Asia. 

Cruden will join Kobe Kobelco Steelers, where Dan Carter currently plays. 

"It is a huge privilege to be a part of the Chiefs once again," said Cruden. "It is a fantastic environment to be a part of, which made it an easy decision to choose to return for the 2020 season.

"I'm looking forward to getting back and stuck into pre-season training with the guys."

Head coach Warren Gatland said he was pleased to have the former co-captain return to the chiefs.

"It is great to have Aaron back to rejoin the Gallagher Chiefs," said Gatland. 

"As a player, he has a proven ability to create opportunities with his boot and can spark up an attack from anywhere on the park. 

"We are fortunate and privileged to have him return, and I will look forward to coaching him in the coming season."

On Sunday, Cruden played his last match for Montpellier, which ended in a 19-19 draw against Toulon. 

The Chiefs and the rest of the New Zealand Super RUgby teams will announce their full squad for the 2020 season on Tuesday.