Cooper hopeful Cruden will stay a Chief

There’s little he can do about it, but future Chiefs boss Colin Cooper says his fingers are crossed that Aaron Cruden remains with the club long-term.

Cruden, the Super Rugby side’s first-five and co-captain, will be off-contract in 2017 and has reportedly fielded a lucrative offer from French outfit Montpellier.

Any departure would coincide with the entry of Cooper to the Chiefs top job after being announced as the replacement for Glasgow-bound Dave Rennie on Wednesday.

Cooper, who coached Cruden in his final year at the Hurricanes in 2010, does not want to see the 2011 World Cup winner go.

Saying his ability to marshal a side around the rugby park was second to none.

“I’ve coached him and know him well, so hopefully he does stay in the country and with the Chiefs,” Cooper said.

“(But) how the environment is in rugby, especially professional rugby, there’s a lot of pressure on young men to move overseas.”

If Cruden does go, the 47-cap playmaker is likely to be replaced as Chiefs No.10 by livewire Damian McKenzie, a standout in Super Rugby this year.

He had already lost his role as All Blacks No.10 to Hurricanes playmaker Beauden Barrett, awarded New Zealand Rugby’s Player of the Year for his imperious 2016 Test form.

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