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Ben Smith, Aaron Cruden sign for Japanese side Kobe Steelers

Former All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden have sealed moves to Japan's Top League, both penning contracts with the Kobe Steelers.

Ben Smith scores for the All Blacks against Wales at the Rugby World Cup Source: Photosport

Smith joins the side after his stint in France with Pau was cut short due to Covid-19, while Cruden has been plying his trade for the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa after returning from Montpellier.

Kobe are the last team to have won the Top League, doing so back in 2018. The 2019 season wasn't played due to Japan's hosting of the Rugby World Cup, while this year's campaign was called off due to Covid-19.

The pair join current All Black Brodie Retallick, and former assistant coach Wayne Smith as part of Kobe's Kiwi contingent, as the Top League will begin again in 2021.

Other Kiwis on Kobe's books include coach Nick Holten, and former Highlanders Richard Buckman, Tom Franklin and Hayden Parker.