A return to New Zealand for former All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden has been deemed to be highly unlikely by Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins.
A season-ending ACL injury to Damian McKenzie has left the All Blacks short-handed with just Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett the only two regular first team flyhalves.
As a result of McKenzie's injury and the lack of a clear replacement, some have suggested that Cruden could be in line for a shock call-up to the national side, despite being under contract with French Top 14 side Montpellier.
Cruden has come under some critism at Montpellier with the owner suggesting that the playmaker could leave the club at the end of the season. There have also been calls for the Chiefs to re-sign their ex-playmaker at the conclusion of the European club season to play at the end of the 2019 Super Rugby campaign, thus making him eligible for the World Cup.
However, speaking to Newstalk ZB, Michael Collins almost all but ruled that out as a possibility.
“I don’t think it’s that realistic,” Collins said.
“In a perfect world, with Damian going down, that would be wonderful but what I understand is he’s contracted to his French club and that season doesn’t end until May or June. I don’t think he’ll be back playing for the Chiefs this year.”
Cruden has also been linked with a move to Scotland where he would take a pay cut and rejoin his former coach Dave Rennie at Glasgow Warriors.