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ABs star's undecided playing future

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All Black plays coy over future but Japan deal believed to be secured

All Blacks midfielder Ryan Crotty has downplayed whether his decision to leave New Zealand has been decided, advising Fairfax media there is no rush to make a decision after this year’s World Cup.

“No, there’s no rush,” he said.

“Each year, I do it [contract] year-by-year. Once I make a decision, that will be it. But everything always comes on the back of playing well for this team here.

“I’m not looking too far away. Just trying to stay and live in the moment as best I can, and enjoy what I’m blessed to be able to do.”

After reports that Top 14 club Racing 92 were interested in securing Crotty, Midi Olympique suggested that Crotty was Japan-bound after this year’s World Cup with Top League side Kubota Spears. RugbyPass understands that a deal has been reached for the Crusaders centre and he will be heading to the Top League.

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It is understood that Kubota Spears have secured All Black midfielder Ryan Crotty on a post-World Cup deal. @kubotaspears #japantopleague #allblacks #crusaders #nzrugby #rugby? #topleague #kubotaspears #japanrugby #crusadersrugby

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Crotty would become the latest All Black to head to the Top League, with Liam Squire confirming his departure this week.

It was announced earlier today that his long-time All Blacks and Crusaders teammate Owen Franks has signed with English club Northampton, where he will be joined by fellow new recruit and one-test Hurricanes midfielder Matt Proctor.

Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jordan Taufua and Jeff Toomaga-Allen have also inked offshore deals, while rumours persist of Japanese and European clubs chasing the signatures of the likes of high-profile stars Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett.

The 44-test star remains focused on delivering for the Crusaders throughout the upcoming campaign, which starts against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Crotty will line up for his 133rd match in Crusaders colours, pairing up in the midfield with youngster Braydon Ennor, who has won selection over the vastly more experienced Tim Bateman in the absence of injured All Blacks centre Jack Goodhue.

Despite his omission from this weekend’s contest, Crotty was full of praise for 31-year-old Bateman.

“He’s one of the coaches here,” Crotty said.

“He’s got that high of a rugby IQ. He’s a massively valuable asset, that’s why I was chasing him so hard in the off-season to make sure he came back again.

“He is very valuable to this team’s success and massive at leading those guys that don’t strip each week. He’s probably one of the most critical guys in our environment.”

Scott Robertson ahead of Crusaders season opener:

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All Black plays coy over future but Japan deal believed to be secured