Cruden confirms Montpellier switch as clock ticks down on All Blacks career

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Aaron Cruden has confirmed that he will complete a move to Montpellier from the Chiefs after the 2017 Super Rugby season, bringing an end to his time with New Zealand.

The 28-year-old, who joined the Chiefs in 2012, announced the news in a video posted on Facebook, revealing he had signed a three-year deal with the Top 14 club.

Cruden, who will be available for the Lions tour if selected, said: "It is with great sadness but also excitement that this will be my last year playing rugby here in New Zealand, representing Manawatu, the Chiefs, and also the All Blacks - three teams that I love dearly.

"But in saying that the excitement comes from the fact that I've signed a three-year deal with Montpellier, in France, a beautiful part of the world, a fantastic rugby club and a real opportunity for me to go out there and experience something different, something fresh.

"It's going to be a fantastic challenge."

The announcement follows weeks of speculation, with Cruden long linked to a move overseas and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen having appeared resigned to losing him.

Cruden has won 47 caps for his country, but found himself behind Beauden Barrett at fly-half in recent months as Hansen's side set a record of 18 consecutive Test victories.

It remains to be seen if compatriots Ben Smith and Israel Dagg follow Cruden's lead and move to a European club.