All Black Aaron Cruden, heavily courted by French club Montpellier, says he has made no decisions on his future.
Cruden's contact with New Zealand Rugby ends next year and there is increasing speculation that he will move offshore. Beauden Barrett's form in the No 10 jersey has been impeccable, goalkicking apart, and while Cruden might get a start during next month's Northern Hemisphere tour, it is likely to be a temporary option only.
Cruden, named on the reserves bench for Saturday's test against the Wallabies at Eden Park after his rehabilitated groin survived 40 minutes for Manawatu at the weekend, gave a spiky response when asked about the speculation over his future.
"No, I'm not aware of it," he said. "Do you want to fill me in?"
When told of Montpellier's interest, he replied: "I suppose you can't believe everything you read in the media. I am off contract with New Zealand next year. Obviously I'm working through that at the moment. I've got a few decisions to make, but the time probably isn't right now to be making those decisions. I guess coming back in after an injury lay-off, my focus is on the game this weekend.
"I haven't put too much thought into it."
Cruden said the selectors' decisions during next months' four-test tour would have no bearing on his decision. That is likely to be the time when coach Steve Hansen attempts to persuade the 27-year-old that he should stay.
"We haven't sat down and had a big discussion," Hansen said. "He knows that we want him to stay and that discussion will probably happen when we are away. He's not going to make that decision overnight.
"He's a big part of who we are and what we do. He's in our leadership group and he's a good enough player to be a starting test player so we don't want to lose him. That's going to be a decision that he'll make and he'll make it for what's right for him and his family."
Cruden, who hasn't played for the All Blacks since hurting his groin in the test against the Pumas in Hamilton in September, will likely come on in the second half of the test against the Wallabies on Saturday. His pace and tactical nous, alongside the power of fellow reserves Ardie Savea and Malakai Fekitoa, could trouble Michael Cheika's side should they still be in with a chance.
After a frustrating recent time of it, being part of a world record victory would be a big boost for Cruden before the tour of Chicago, Rome, Dublin and Paris. But big decisions remain.