Cruden re-signs with All Blacks to 2017

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:07

Wellington: All Blacks pivot Aaron Cruden announced Tuesday he had re-signed with the All Blacks for another three years, securing his services for next year`s World Cup and the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour.

The 25-year-old, who has proved an able understudy to the ageing Dan Carter, said he was delighted to be staying with the All Blacks, who have a policy of not picking players who are not based in New Zealand.

"I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given and I want to continue giving my very best to this great game," he said.

Cruden earned the first of his 31 Test caps in 2010 but really came of age a year later, when he became the All Blacks` playmaker at the World Cup after Carter suffered a tournament-ending groin strain.

While an injury forced him off in the final, Cruden did enough in New Zealand`s successful campaign for him to be anointed Carter`s long-term successor.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Cruden, who survived a bout of testicular cancer in 2008, offered leadership and exciting skills.

"`Crudes` is an outstanding young talent, a great team man and leader in our group," he said. "His contribution to All Blacks rugby and his other teams has been outstanding." 

Cruden is also co-captain of the Waikato Chiefs, back-to-back defending champions in the Super 15 competition.

With Carter on a sabbatical, Cruden has faced competition for the number 10 jersey during the current series against England from Wellington Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett.

England lead the series 2-0 ahead of the third and final Test in Hamilton on Saturday.

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First Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:07

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