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Returning to the Chiefs, the black jersey isn’t on Cruden’s radar in 2020.
Leadership comes naturally to Aaron Cruden and his old mentor Dave Rennie would tell you the former All Blacks first five-eighth was like an extra coach on the field.
Well, after a successful five-year era where the Chiefs won two Super Rugby titles with Cruden as playmaker and Rennie as coach, the former has returned as the “elder statesman”, he says, back to pull the strings after returning from a frustrating, injury-ravaged stint with Montpellier in France.
Cruden’s second spell with the Chiefs started this week and there has been plenty of change since his last season in Hamilton in 2017, the same year Rennie, the new Wallabies coach, left for Scotland to take charge of Glasgow Warriors.
Warren Gatland is the new coach of a young Chiefs side, one Cruden should have quite an influence on as a Super Rugby centurion and veteran of 50 tests.
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The 31-year-old was jovial when facing media this week and offered some insight into his first few days with Gatland’s Chiefs, revealing there was a more “player-driven” environment under Gatland, who is back after 12 successful years with Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
Rennie’s sentiment of Cruden the coach could be prevalent on and off the field in 2020. The Chiefs are yet to name a captain ahead of their season opener against the Blues at Eden Park on January 31.
“He’s even brought his own style and structure to training,” Cruden said of Gatland. “Talking to a lot of the boys, they’re really energised by that.
“It’s a lot more player-driv
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