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Ex-All Black Aaron Cruden emerges as a candidate for Ireland move

By Neil Fissler
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster are considering a move for veteran former All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden as they look to increase their options at fly-half for next season following Billy Burns’s departure to Irish rivals Munster.


Ulster intended to play scrum-half Nathan Doak at fly-half but are now rethinking the plan after he started their last three games in the outside-half position, two of which have ended in defeat.

They have launched a worldwide search to see who is available, and whispers are that they have been looking at Cruden, 35, who scored two tries in four appearances for Waikato in last season’s NPC.

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Cruden signed his first Hurricanes contract in 2010 and is without a club after three seasons in Japan (two with the Kobelco Kobe Steelers and one with Tokyo Sungoliath) before returning home.

But cash could be a problem with Ulster being forced into making cutbacks after losing nearly £1 million in the 2022-23 season, and they have earmarked a budget of around £150,000 to bring someone in.

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And that might not be enough to tempt the 50-times-capped Cruden into uprooting his wife and two young children, both under five, to the other side of the world unless the offer was far too good to turn down.

Cruden, after rejoining Waikato, said that he would be keeping his options open for 2024 and wouldn’t rule out continuing his playing career or even moving into coaching.


“I don’t know, to be fair… I’m not actively looking right now… not looking too far ahead, we’ll just see what comes,” he told the New Zealand media.

Adding: “If you’d asked me early on in my career, I probably would have said no to coaching, but now I’m getting closer to the end of it, I’m thinking it could be a potential avenue I want to explore.”



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Abe 2 hours ago
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