Again on the comeback trail following yet another muscle issue, the former All Black out-half insisted his sole priority was getting himself back on the field to face Grenoble in the Top 14 this weekend, not adding fuel to the fire that is the rumour he will end his Montpellier contract a year early and make a pay-cut switch to the Guinness PRO14 Warriors.
“I don’t want to talk about my future, sorry. I’m focused on the present,” he told rugbyrama.fr when quizzed on reports that he is allegedly willing to undertake a 20 per cent pay cut on his €700,000 a year Montpellier deal in order to link up with his former Chiefs boss, Dave Rennie.
Instead, Cruden claimed he is hoping to finish this season with a return to the sort of form he regularly showed in the southern hemisphere before his injury-hit switch to France.
“I will make sure to be myself. I know what a player I am, what I can do. I hope that a few games will be beneficial for me, so that I can bring what I can to the team. If we all do that, it can only be positive for the future.
— RUGBYRAMA (@RugbyramaFR) April 25, 2019
“I don’t really have an explanation (for the injuries). With muscle injuries, it’s always hard to pin down the problem. Maybe I tried to come back too fast at times. But I’m not sure about that and I don’t want to point at anyone, to say that it comes from this or that.
“Unfortunately, it happened. Now I trying to keep the ideas clear, to stay focused on how I can come back to contribute to the team,” he said, adding he hasn’t radically altered his warm-up routines.
“I didn’t change much, no. I like to think I have always been rather attentive and diligent in the approach of my physical preparation. So it has been about working hard with the medical staff, doctors, physiotherapists to put together a specific plan that would allow me to return as quickly as possible while being careful not to push too far.
“Everyone is working hard and I know everyone is disappointed that they have not seen me more often this year. But we all go through difficult things and we learn every day… I hope to have the chance to come back against Grenoble to play beautiful rugby.
“I have suffered some injuries during my career, a few fractures, a ligament of a knee that kept me off the ground for several months, but never as many regular muscle injuries as this season.
“It’s frustrating but I still believe in my body and in my ability to find the game to contribute at the highest level. I just have to make sure to take all possible steps in my recovery process, to take good care of my body. If I do that, I have good hope for the end of the season.
“I would not be human if I didn’t have doubts. When you arrive somewhere with big expectations, you want to make your contribution. And when you can’t do it for various reasons, such as injuries, it can become frustrating.
“I try to stay positive, keep a cool head, keep the end goal in sight. For me, it’s playing quality rugby and having fun. A professional career does not last forever and it’s necessary to enjoy it.”
WATCH: Drew Mitchell in RugbyPass Legends
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now