Cruden has a 'hunger for success'

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 17:15
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand flyhalf Aaron Cruden says the hunger for success exuded by Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad and coach Vern Cotter persuaded him to end his international career and move to the Top 14 side.

The 28-year-old - whose 50th and last cap came in the 15-all draw with the British and Irish Lions in the third and final Test in July - told the Sunday Telegraph he bought into former Clermont and Scotland head coach Cotter's vision of playing eye-catching rugby.

"Mohed [Altrad] is extremely ambitious as an owner, but also talking to Vern Cotter as a coach he really wants to deliver," said Cruden.

"He wants to get out there and play an exciting brand of footy, although ultimately he knows you are judged on your performances.

"Talking to both of them made me excited to get here. This is a relatively young club that has not been around for a long time, but one which is hungry for success."

Cruden, who was part of the All Blacks 2011 World Cup-winning squad although he was injured and unable to play in the final, said he could have stayed on in New Zealand and battled for a place in the 2019 World Cup squad but felt it was time for a new challenge.

"For me the timing just felt right," said Cruden, who missed the 2015 World Cup triumph due to knee surgery.

"I would have known deep down if there was a massive motivation to stick around to try and achieve another Rugby World Cup.

"As a player you know what is best for you. Looking back I was lucky.

"I ended up with 50 caps [24 of those as a replacement] for the All Blacks and if you had asked me 10 years ago how many I thought I might achieve, I would have happily said one or two, just to pull on that jersey."

Cruden, who opted for Montpellier ahead of English duo Northampton Saints and second-tier Bristol, said he and his wife Grace were looking forward to adjusting to a totally different culture.       

"They certainly do things a little bit differently but my wife and I were excited by that, putting ourselves out of our comfort zone on a personal level," said Cruden.

"Having to learn a language at 28 years old and seeing how that goes, it's all part of what life is about.

"We always know New Zealand is home and that we'll go back there."

Agence France-Presse