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Hurricanes CEO rules out returns for Sopoaga, Cruden to replace Beauden Barrett

The Hurricanes have ruled out a Wellington return for former All Blacks Aaron Cruden or Lima Sopoaga, as they search far and wide to find a replacement for Blues-bound Beauden Barrett.

With Barrett's new NZR contract seeing him trade Wellington for Auckland heading into the 2020 season, the Hurricanes are without a senior first-five on their roster.

At the moment, youngster Fletcher Smith and journeyman Jackson Garden-Bachop are the only two specialist number 10s on the Hurricanes books, however CEO Avan Lee was happy to draw a line through the names of overseas Kiwi players to step in.

Speaking to the NZ Herald, Lee ruled out moves for former Hurricanes Cruden (now with French side Montpellier), Sopoaga (England's Wasps) or Hayden Parker (Sunwolves).

"There's obviously speculation and when you've got quality first fives wherever they are in the world, there's always going to be suggestions of if that player will go and take over from Beauden Barrett," Lee said.

"That's the world we live in - we're in the market, so people will talk.

"Nothing is close - but we are very active in terms of conversations with players and agents assessing our options. We'd like to get that locked away sooner rather than later."

The Hurricanes have been busy in their off season recruitment drive, snapping up young forwards duo Tyrel Lomax from the Highlanders, and Scott Scrafton from the Blues.

Lima Sopoaga of Wasps. Source: Getty