Aaron Cruden to make Super Rugby return with Chiefs in 2020

Former All Blacks first-five Aaron Cruden will return to the Chiefs next season.

Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs makes a pass against the Crusaders. Source: Photosport

The Chiefs officially announced Cruden's return this morning, saying the 30-year-old will play under new coach Warren Gatland for 2020.

Gatland said he was pleased to have Cruden join the team.

“It is great to have Aaron back to re-join the Gallagher Chiefs," Gatland said.

"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.”

Cruden started his Super Rugby career with the Hurricanes but moved north to the Chiefs in 2012 where he played until the end of the 2017 season.

At that point, he opted to go offshore for a deal worth $3.7 million with French club Montpellier where he has remained, but Cruden is now set to change scenes again with a stint in Japan at the Kobe Kobelco Steelers next season.

Between the end of the French season and the start of Japan's there is a gap in playing though, menaing Cruden has time to make a return to Hamilton.

Cruden said he was excited to return to the Chiefs.

“It is a huge privilege to be a part of the Chiefs once again," Cruden said.

"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.”

The signing means Gatland could have a dual-playmaker system of his own to work with with Cruden likely to slot in at 10 and Damian McKenzie - who will have recovered from his ruptured ACL in time for the season - at fullback.

Cruden played 50 Tests for the All Blacks before heading overseas but struggled to own the No.10 jersey in his time with both Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett featuring in squads with him.