Aaron Cruden



  • With a maximum of one Super season and three tests to go in his NZ career I was wondering how the Fern rate his career relative to the other great 10s we have produced.

    Posting this after chatting with a mate who surprised me a bit saying said he rates him second behind Carter as the best 10 we've produced in the professional era. It seemed a little ridiculous at first given he never really owned the jumper.

    The core of his case was he has the Super titles to get into the conversation with Sepncer/Mehrtens, his overall game was more complete with those two having more obvious weaknesses and lastly that while being provincial heroes neither of those two presided over a sustained period of success in black either - which would be the biggest knock on Cruden.

    I'm somewhat swayed - although still find it tough to disregard Spencer's peaks and would have him marginally ahead. What does the Fern think?



  • To be that well regarded he'd have had to go into first receiver way more than he did. He often relied on Dagg to be the main playmaker while he waited for a mismatch, then called for the ball.

    He also for more than half of his career had a short field kicking game, and later in his career over used the chip kick.

    Was a good player but not in the same league as Carlos and Mehrts. I'd have Tony Brown over him too.



  • I would agree that Cruden is rated second behind Carter. He didn't have the highs of Mehrtens and Spencer at their best but Cruden didn't have their lows in performance either. I've seen plenty of Cruden up close for the Chiefs since 2012 where he has been one of the main reasons for the Chiefs' success since then.

    Cruden is undefeated as a starter for the ABs too.



  • Third best behind Carter and Barrett!

    Spencer far too flakey to be considered.



  • The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    Ha ha! You Wellingtonians always bangin on about Spencer....

    Hang on....



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    The shock at someone rating Tony Brown ahead of him...



  • pfft, surely it goes like this...

    DC
    Daylight
    Beaver
    BB
    Cruden-Spencer-Merhts
    Brown-Mannix-Preston-McAllister
    A month of Sundays
    Marc Ellis



  • @taniwharugby said in Aaron Cruden:

    pfft, surely it goes like this...

    DC
    Daylight
    Beaver
    BB
    Cruden-Spencer-Merhts
    Brown-Mannix-Preston-McAllister
    A month of Sundays
    Marc Ellis

    Dammit! How could I forget New Zealands greatest first 5?!?



  • Yeah nah. He would be behind Carter, Mehrts and Spencer for me. You could also argue that Barrett has reached greater heights.

    Having said that he was really good in that 2012-2015 period when Carter was often missing.



  • jesus could you imagine Carlos behind our recent forward pack taking wide A Smith passes? He'd be a nightmare to defend.

    Cruden is a bloody good player, but 2nd on our pro-era 10s is a bit high.



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    To be that well regarded he'd have had to go into first receiver way more than he did. He often relied on Dagg to be the main playmaker while he waited for a mismatch, then called for the ball.

    He also for more than half of his career had a short field kicking game, and later in his career over used the chip kick.

    Was a good player but not in the same league as Carlos and Mehrts. I'd have Tony Brown over him too.

    Agree with most of that.

    Mehrtens played first receiver consistently - but rarely ever played the playmaker. Very often it was just shovel it along to Alatini/Little/Cullen to do something constructive.

    Then you have the whole defensive angle where Cruden runs rings around Mehrts - that has to count for soemthing.

    Personally preferred Evans game to Cruden's - if we eliminate that 2008 Blues season under Nucifora - better kicking, his peer defensively, seemed more fluid in attack.



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    I think the biggest shock is anyone rating Tony Brown above him. That's plain idiotic. Brown was always only the next option 10 after the better options went down (and I was a big fan of Browns style of play).

    For much of his career Cruden was going toe to toe with the greatest 10 of all time and matched him during a long winning run of matches.

    If Barrett keeps up his form at 10 he'll likely be rated higher but at the moment I don't know how anyone can anoint him number two as a 10 as he's got one brilliant season - so the one coming will be the one that tells.

    In saying all that I don't think Cruden rates above Mehrts and Spencer, but I'm not sure he rates below them either.

    I was recently watching a highlights video (it was one where these two black guys watch a video on Youtube and then film themselves - kind of strange but it's a whole thing apparently) from 2012 - 2015 and Cruden was involved in a whole lot of the good stuff.



  • Cruden has been a great player, but like Rattue, I don't think he ever really reached the heights that were predicted. I don't think he was ever viewed as quite at the top echelon. He certainly was at super rugby level, and was a good international, but just never quite at that top level.

    Carter, then Mehrts, then everybody else. If Barrett continues his form this year, then that may well change.



  • @taniwharugby said in Aaron Cruden:

    pfft, surely it goes like this...

    DC
    Daylight
    Beaver
    BB
    Cruden-Spencer-Merhts
    Brown-Mannix-Preston-McAllister
    A month of Sundays
    Marc Ellis

    Someone has fraped you. Your posts are usually never this funny



  • Cruden was a very good player but wasn't superstar level. He didn't have a prayer when BB ramped it up last year and tbh I rate LS above him now. No. 2 behind Carter? Cant see that. Would rate him below Mehrts, BB and Carlos.



  • @MajorRage said in Aaron Cruden:

    Cruden has been a great player, but like Rattue, I don't think he ever really reached the heights that were predicted.

    We agree on one thing, Rattue never reached any height!!



  • He's in the convo at 3 for me, behind Fox and Carter in some order I'd need to think about.

    He did sensational things on the field. Henry described him as the best 10 he'd seen after Fox. Carter was a freak, but Fox was a machine. Like Norm Hewitt, Crudes had poor timing being stuck behind a great, and then getting injured once he got his chance



  • @Donsteppa said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    The shock at someone rating Tony Brown ahead of him...

    Better kicker (goal kicker and directing the team around the field), better tackler, and didn't hide from running the backline.

    You can't be included in these great ten lists if you won't run the backline.



  • @nzzp said in Aaron Cruden:

    Like Norm Hewitt, Crudes had poor timing being stuck behind a great, and then getting injured once he got his chance

    He also handled the situation with considerably more dignity than Norm.



  • All the very best to Aaron Cruden,it pisses me off the nut case Chris Rattue,calls him the nearly man,well the nearly man played 47 x tests for his country,47 more than Chris Rattue ever played,just bloody unlucky,that he had some bad luck with injury,not to mention ,the great one Carter,and now Barrett playing in the same period,given that' the kid battled cancer,even before his proffesional career started,I reckon that's not a bad record.cant help feel that we saw the best of Cruden when SBW was playing outside him,with Charlie Ngatai at centre,we are fortunate to have Barrett,Sopaga and Richie Mounga floating around,one player I would definefly keep an eye on,is Tyler Blayendaal ,who is playing for Munster,is considered to be the most outstanding NZ player plying his trade in Europe at the minute.



  • One question that is worth considering in this discussion is whether Cruden was ever really seen as first choice 10?

    And other than the first two Wales games in 2016 you would have to say no. He was always filling in while DC was injured. Then BB went past him.

    Of course that doesn't disqualify him from being tge second best in the pro era.



  • @pukunui

    I remember debate on here quite some time ago on whether or not Cruden had surpassed Carter. Then Carter Cartered and that was the end of the convo



  • @pukunui I think for a period before and leading into the 2015 RWC Cruden was seen as the #1 10, many had written DC off and were annoyed at the coaching teams insistence at selecting when he got a window of fitness, lest we forget Twattue's opinion on DC as well, cos it carries such great weight.



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Donsteppa said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    The shock at someone rating Tony Brown ahead of him...

    Better kicker (goal kicker and directing the team around the field), better tackler, and didn't hide from running the backline.

    You can't be included in these great ten lists if you won't run the backline.

    Cruden didn't hide from running a backline at any level. If he did Hansen and co wouldn't have selected him.



  • @Nepia said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Donsteppa said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    The shock at someone rating Tony Brown ahead of him...

    Better kicker (goal kicker and directing the team around the field), better tackler, and didn't hide from running the backline.

    You can't be included in these great ten lists if you won't run the backline.

    Cruden didn't hide from running a backline at any level. If he did Hansen and co wouldn't have selected him.

    Every player has his flaws, this was just his. Hansen covered it by using Dagg as a first receiver.

    That and his short kicking length.



  • @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Nepia said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Donsteppa said in Aaron Cruden:

    @Kirwan said in Aaron Cruden:

    The shock at Chiefs fans overrating Crudan!

    The shock at someone rating Tony Brown ahead of him...

    Better kicker (goal kicker and directing the team around the field), better tackler, and didn't hide from running the backline.

    You can't be included in these great ten lists if you won't run the backline.

    Cruden didn't hide from running a backline at any level. If he did Hansen and co wouldn't have selected him.

    Every player has his flaws, this was just his. Hansen covered it by using Dagg as a first receiver.

    That and his short kicking length.

    It wasn't hiding from running the backline, it was just the style that developed with him - it was a style that the Chiefs used effectively and Hansen was happy to carry on (clearly it's a style you don't prefer) ... and I don't think Dagg took the ball at first receiver quite as much as you're making out.

    Yes, he often wouldn't take the ball of the first ruck, because the opportunities open up on the second but quite frankly if you watch any modern rugby team this is the style that is played.



  • @Kirwan I'll certainly give you the short kicking - that has been a glaring weakness of his game from day 1.

    Not entirely sure what you mean by running a backline honestly. He had the chiefs backline absolutely humming for a couple of years, and at international level, I actually thought he was more often guilty of trying to overplay his hand than anything.



  • Both Super and test rugby is a different game now than it was in the mid-90s as defensive patterns are so much better in today's rugby. As much as I liked Mehrts and Spencer in their time they would need to change their style with less time and space to operate.

    It's good that the ABs have had a number of quality 1st 5s over the years so we can have this debtate. You could throw Culhane into the mix based on the 1996 SA tour.



  • I think the strength of Cruden's play was always his option taking and how he linked up with those around him. When he took the ball to the line, he was dangerous because he always found a good pass to someone like SBW. I don't really think he had glaring weaknesses - he just lacked the out and and out x-factor of someone like Barrett (even though he was a great attacking player in his own right).



  • The missed opportunity (from injuries, availability and incumbent players) was the Cruden/SBW partnership in tests.
    It never happened enough but the cameos we had were awesome.

    For the same reasons it never happened enough at the Chiefs either.

    That injury wrecked half an hour against Ireland in the 60-0 thrashing had the makings of being Cruden's highlight game to end them all. He was simply on fire that night and the combo of him making halfbreaks with SBW steaming in off his shoulder was the stuff that has you wondering how someone can be that good.



  • Excellent at Super Rugby level.
    Very good at AB level.
    Always felt he struggled a bit if the pack wasn't on top, which differentiates the greats from the goods.
    Goal-kicking was acceptable, but not world-class.
    Decent defender, and developed some nice kicks out of hand.

    I've been watching since '87. Carter, Mehrts, Spencer on his day are probably all better. I'd most definitely have him ahead of Tony Browne though, as much as I like Tony we are talking a bit journeyman at AB level.



  • He's started a World Cup final and won 2 Super Rugby competitions, so I absolutely don't blame him for taking the sure thing. Guaranteed millions or fighting for a place in history... I'd probably take the money too.

    That said, there's still way more he could have achieved, and even though he should be in the prime of his career he is not sticking around to fight for his jersey. I think ranking him alongside our all time greats would be based on potential, because he never actually nailed down the starting position for a decent length of time. Rattue put out an article the other day... obviously I didn't click on it but the headline called Cruden the nearly man of NZ rugby, which I think is about right.

    Personally, I haven't seen a better first five at playing at the line, and his ability to bring his backline into the game is up there with the very best (better than Carter IMO). @Kirwan mentioned not playing at first receiver enough, which isn't really a problem for me because the results came either as a result of his positioning or in spite of it, but either way the results were good so we won't know. But yes, long kicking game and goal kicking were an issue. Sometimes he overplayed the chipkick, but even Carter had that issue... sometimes I think it's a Kiwi thing.

    Probably about equal with Spencer for me, ahead of Brown and Evans, but behind Carter, Merhts, Fox.

    I wish he was sticking around, I'd love to see him and Barrett pushing each other for that spot.



  • Slightly off topic,

    For a country who has been so good at rugby , with the exception of carter , I'm not so sure we have produced the quality of 10s that you would expect from us , considering how dominant we have been overall



  • @kiwiinmelb said in Aaron Cruden:

    Slightly off topic,

    For a country who has been so good at rugby , with the exception of carter , I'm not so sure we have produced the quality of 10s that you would expect from us , considering how dominant we have been overall

    Well, our best 10s tend to own the position for nearly 10 years at a time, so it makes it tough to generate lots of greats at that rate. Fox, Mehrts, Carter pretty much took care of the 80s, 90s, 00s.



  • @kiwiinmelb that's a completely fair point, however only at certain times, and really only because we are used to having 2 brilliant players in every position. The progression of Fox-Mehrts-Spencer-Carter is not a bad run (give or take a year here or there) but there was rarely a guy behind him really pushing for the spot.

    Do we credit big Steve again for building a level of depth that allows us to lose Carter and Cruden in a relatively short space of time, and not have anyone even blink?



  • @kiwiinmelb said in Aaron Cruden:

    Slightly off topic,

    For a country who has been so good at rugby , with the exception of carter , I'm not so sure we have produced the quality of 10s that you would expect from us , considering how dominant we have been overall

    The great thing about rugby is that it's truly a team sport. With 15 guys on the field and the continuity of the game, it's not an easy sport to be an outstanding 'individual'. Yes there are the occasional moments of individual brilliance, but even then most of those have had lead up or finishing moments involving others.

    My expectation with the ABs is that they perform as a team rather than looking for say the 1st 5 to be the standout dominant player.



  • @mariner4life said in Aaron Cruden:

    @kiwiinmelb that's a completely fair point, however only at certain times, and really only because we are used to having 2 brilliant players in every position. The progression of Fox-Mehrts-Spencer-Carter is not a bad run (give or take a year here or there) but there was rarely a guy behind him really pushing for the spot.

    Has any team had a better run in modern times? I think other countries tend to have much lower lows than us



  • @Duluth no, they haven't. It's like our run at 7, it's fucking ridiculous, and must piss other countries off no end.

    "Not a bad run" was tongue in cheek.

    But according to my memory, the 2IC was usually solid rather than spectacular. Unlike 7, or wing, or fullback, or even hooker.



  • @mariner4life Yeah I knew you were deliberately understating things

    I was asking the question in relation to the @kiwiinmelb post. If we really aren't producing as many quality 10's as we should be.. has someone else done better?

    There's some good 10's that have come out of Australia, England, SA & France etc, but theres plenty of crap in between


Log in to reply