Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden to join Japan's Kobe Steelers

Paola Ditto
Agosto 2, 2020

Former All Blacks Smith and Cruden will play for Kobe Steelers while Mostert, who lifted the World Cup previous year with South Africa, is on his way to Honda Heat.

The acquisitions of Cruden and Smith will add to a hefty Kiwi contingent of players and coaches at the Steelers. He has 84 caps and was the main All Blacks team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The squad is coached by New Zealand's Dave Dillon, who is assisted by fellow Kiwi Nick Holten, while former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith is the club's director of rugby.

Cruden, who is now on a second stint with Chiefs is set to make his 100th appearance for the club this weekend and has experience of playing for Hurricanes and Montpellier.

During his brief stint, the All Blacks great led the club to the Top League championship in 2018-2019, a first triumph since the 2003-2004 campaign.

Cruden joining the Kobe club, after returning to the Chiefs from France this year, was expected but Smith's move there had not been acknowledged publicly until the club's announcement on Friday.

"I am very competitive and proud that I can contribute to the team". I will do my best to further shine the brilliant history of Kobelco Steelers.

Japanese sides have attracted an array of worldwide players in recent years, with New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett signing a one-year deal with Suntory Sungoliath that means he will miss Super Rugby in 2021.

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