30 Jul 2017

'Father-son' era ends at the Chiefs

9:34 am on 30 July 2017

The Chiefs semi-final loss to the Crusaders marks the end of an era for the Hamilton based Super rugby franchise.

The Crusaders 27-13 victory last night puts them into the final where they'll play the Lions in Johanesburg, after they beat the Hurricanes 44-29 this morning.

The Chiefs will now say goodbye to club mainstays Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and James Lowe, as well as coach Dave Rennie.

Cruden who has played 50 tests for New Zealand and 85 games for Chiefs says it will be tough saying goodbye to his super rugby franchise.

He arrived in Hamilton in 2012 via the Hurricanes are two seasons there and is now heading to French club Montpellier in a deal reportedly worth $3.5 million.

He had a close relationship with coach Dave Rennie, so much so that Cruden's teamates would have him on about it.

'Father and Son' - Dave Rennie (right) and Aaron Cruden

'Father and Son' - Dave Rennie (right) and Aaron Cruden Photo: Photosport

"Lots of the boys think it's a father-son relationship. They give me a bit of stick about being the coach's son...but he was one guy who gave me an opportunity when a few people wouldn't.

"He's certainly been more than a just a coach to me. He's been a mentor and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Rens."

Rennie paid tribue to Cruden's contribution to the Chiefs.

"I've got a big history with Azza. He's a phenomenal player, very inspirational and a massive contributor to Chiefs and the New Zealand rugby and it will be sad to see him go."

Cruden though still expects to catch up with Rennie in the northern hemisphere.

For while Cruden will be based in France and Rennie is heading to Scotland to coach the Glasgow Warriors the two sides are in the same pool in the European Cup competition.

Cruden, 28, isn't writing off playing for the Chiefs again either.

Aaron Cruden in action in his final match for the Chiefs.

Aaron Cruden in action in his final match for the Chiefs. Photo: Photosport

"You never know I might do a Beaver (referring to Stephen Donald who spent five years playing in England and Japan before returning to the Chiefs last year)....it is pretty emotional ..and to leave some of these guys that you have been grinding away with for a number of years will be pretty hard but at the same time I have been blessed to have played rugby in this country for a long time...and I'm looking forward to that."