New Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden has revealed that the prospect of working with his former mentor Dave Rennie was the crucial factor in his decision to leave the Hurricanes.
Rennie coached the New Zealand Under-20 team that Cruden captained in 2009 and has also coached the 22-year-old All Black playmaker at his provincial outfit Manawatu, which ultimately swayed the decision in favour of the Chiefs who have also recruited All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith.
Cruden explained: "It's been an extremely difficult decision to make, I never wanted to let anyone down but a decision had to be made. It was my long standing relationship with Ren's [Rennie] that swayed things the Chiefs way.
"Its going to be a challenge but one I am looking forward to now. I wish the Hurricanes well for the 2012 campaign and beyond," he said.
The young pivot has achieved much in his short career to date, he was named IRB Junior Player of the Year in 2009 and made his Super Rugby debut in 2010 for the Hurricanes before being named in the senior All Black squad later that year.
Rennie commented: "We are absolutely rapt that Aaron has committed to the Chiefs. He's a top man, a quality player and a leader."
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett explained that while he was disappointed to see Cruden go, he understood the reasons behind the decision.
He said: "We are disappointed that Aaron is leaving, but it is not completely unexpected considering his close and long-standing relationship with Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and the opportunity to link with Wayne Smith.
"Aaron has served us well over the last two seasons: he has been extremely hard working and highly professional both on and off the field. We have been in regular contact with Aaron throughout this process and when he rung me today he told me that this has been the hardest decision of his life.
"We are proud that he became the 37th player to be capped by the All Blacks whilst playing for this franchise and we wish him well in the next chapter of his career," he added.
Hammett said that he had other options at flyhalf and explained that he is excited to see how the different contenders perform in the NPC this season.
"From a Hurricanes perspective, we have a number of other quality first fives playing in our region who are available, with Beauden Barrett in Taranaki, Michael Hobbs in Wellington and Daniel Kirkpatrick in Hawke's Bay. The forthcoming ITM Cup gives those players every opportunity to stake their claim for the Hurricanes number 10 jersey," he said.
Cruden was not the only player signed by the Chiefs, lock Michael Fitzgerald has also confirmed his move to Hamilton and will look to debut for the side in the 2012 competition.
"Fitzy was one of the best performing locks in last year's ITM Cup. He's a very good athlete, has an outstanding work ethic and is prepared to do a lot of the grunt work," said Rennie.
Fitzgerald said: "I'm really excited about the opportunity to play for the Chiefs but focused on performing well for the Turbos first."
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.