All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden has confirmed he's signed a three-year deal with Top 14 side Montpellier.
The 28-year-old, who has played 47 tests for the All Blacks, has posted a video on the Chiefs' Facebook page confirming his departure at the end of the Super Rugby season.
"It's with great sadness but also excitement that I'll be playing my last year here in New Zealand, representing Manawatu, the Chiefs and the All Blacks, three teams that I love dearly," Cruden said in the video.
"In saying that the excitement comes from the fact I've signed a three-year deal with Montpellier in France, a beautiful part of the world. A fantastic rugby club and a real opportunity to go out there and experience something different, something fresh and that really excites me. It's going to be a fantastic challenge that I have ahead," he said.
"Just personally I'd like to thank all the rugby fans around New Zealand for their loyal and continued support that you've given me throughout my career. I wouldn't have been able to go out all those weeks if that support wasn't there from you so I do sincerely thank you for that," Cruden added.
"My friends and family too. They've stuck by me and given me all that support needed for a young kid from Palmy to live out a childhood dream. I consider myself very lucky to be able to do that and played at the highest level of rugby in New Zealand.
"Even though it's coming to an end I look forward to the next six months - firstly the Super Rugby with the Chiefs and hopefully making a good run at the title there and if the future holds an All Black jersey for me in the Lions series, I'll be working my butt off to make sure that happens."
Earlier today Montpellier owner and president Mohed Altrad confirmed to NZME that his club had signed Cruden and said a statement would be released later today.
Montpellier, coached by former Springboks coach Jake White, currently sit third on the Top 14 standings.
Due to form and injury, Cruden has fallen behind Beauden Barrett in the All Blacks first five pecking order.
The Chiefs and Manawatu number made his test debut in 2010 and started against Italy in Rome last season. He currently sits fourth on the list of most points scored by an All Black with 322.
Cruden will join fellow All Black first-fives in France with Dan Carter (Racing), Luke McAlister (Toulouse) and Tom Taylor (Pau) all currently playing in the Top 14.
All Blacks teammates Israel Dagg and Ben Smith have also been linked with moves to France as they also head into the final year of their current New Zealand Rugby contracts.
According to French media, the revitalised Dagg is being pursued by Toulon by Smith has been linked to Pau as well as Irish side Munster.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will have a number of options as replacements for Cruden, who started three of the 10 test he played last season. Highlanders first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga and Chiefs utility Damian McKenzie were on the end of year tour with the All Blacks last year while Crusaders number 10 Richie Mo'unga last week signed with New Zealand Rugby through to 2019.