Ben Smith, Aaron Cruden to play in Japan

Ben Smith of the Highlanders celebrates his try during the Round 2 Super Rugby match between the Otago Highlanders and Queensland Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 22, 2019. Photo: Getty Images
Ben Smith (c) celebrates scoring a try for the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand World Cup winners Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden will join Japan's Kobe Steelers, following in the footsteps of other high-profile compatriots like Dan Carter.

Cruden and Smith will begin playing for the team when Japan's Top League rugby union competition resumes next season in January 2021 after this season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Steelers won the Top League title in 2019.

Smith, the sixth-highest try scorer in New Zealand history, will join from France's Pau. He has 84 caps and was part of the All Blacks team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Aaron Cruden will be key to the Chiefs' chances once again. Photo: Getty Images
Aaron Cruden. Photo: Getty Images
Cruden, who was a replacement for Carter when the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup in 2011, is set to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance for the Chiefs today.

They join a host of top international players who will feature in the Top League rugby competition next season, which will be headlined by New Zealand's Beauden Barrett. 

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter