All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden has signed a three-year deal with French club Montpellier and will move to the Top 14 next season.
The 47-Test All Black will play out the Super Rugby season for the Chiefs and will be available for selection for the All Blacks in the Lions Series 2017 in June and July.
Cruden said: “It’s with great sadness that this will be my last year playing rugby here in New Zealand, representing Manawatu, the Chiefs and also the All Blacks.
“Personally I would like to thank all of the rugby fans across New Zealand for all of the loyal and continued support that you have given me throughout my career.
“Thanks also to my friends and family. They have stuck by me and given me all that support that was needed for a young kid from Palmy to live out a childhood dream.
“I look forward to the next six months in New Zealand. Firstly Super Rugby with the Chiefs and hopefully making a good run at that title. If the future holds an All Blacks jersey in the Lions series I will be working hard to make sure that happens,” Cruden said.
Cruden, 28, debuted for the All Blacks in 2010 and quickly built a reputation as a gifted playmaker and accurate goal-kicker. He is fourth on the all-time All Blacks Test point scoring list with 322 points.
Cruden has reportedly agreed a two-year contract with the option of a third at €800,000 per season.
Club president Mohad Altrad has long been an admirer of Cruden and he’ll replace the outgoing Demetri Catrakilis, who moves to Harlequins.