Super Rugby

Cruden, FitzGerald sign with Chiefs

Cruden, FitzGerald sign with Chiefs

IT'S OFFICIAL – Aaron Cruden will play for the Chiefs next year.

He will also be joined at the Hamilton-based franchise by Manawatu teammate and lock Michael FitzGerald.

Cruden’s future had been the subject of much speculation in recent times following the fallout from Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett’s decision to dump All Blacks Ma’a Nonu and Andrew Hore.

However, it was always believed the six-test All Blacks pivot would join his Manawatu and former New Zealand Under 20 mentor Dave Rennie in Hamilton, as the two have a good working relationship.

“It’s been an extremely difficult decision to make,” he says.

“It was my long-standing relationship with Renns that swayed things the Chiefs way. It’s going to be a challenge, but one I am looking forward to now.

“I wish the Hurricanes well for the 2012 campaign and beyond.”

FitzGerald is another Manawatu player who is set to make his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs next season.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to play for the Chiefs, but focused on performing well for the Turbos first,” he says.

Rennie is happy both his Manawatu charges have decided to sign with the franchise.

“We are absolutely rapt that Aaron has committed to the Chiefs. He’s a top man, a quality player and a leader.

“Fitzy was one of the best-performing locks in last year’s ITM Cup. He’s a very good athlete, has an outstanding work-ethic and is prepared to do a lot of the grunt work.”

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