AAP Rugby

All Blacks Smith, Cruden to Kobe Steelers

By AAP Newswire

New Zealand World Cup winners Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden will follow in the footsteps of Kiwi legend Dan Carter by joining Kobe Steelers, the Japanese rugby union team announced on Friday.

Cruden and Smith will begin with the Steelers when Japan's Top League rugby union competition resumes 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's history, will join from French side Pau. He has 84 caps and was part of the All Blacks team that beat Australia in 2015's Rugby World Cup final.

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 Waikato Chiefs on Saturday.