Money talks, and All Blacks will continue to listen.

That's the message from Montpelier owner Mohed Altrad, who has snared Aaron Cruden as part of his bid to turn Montpelier into a French Top 14 powerhouse.

Altrad is the epitome of a self made man - a cement and scaffolding billionaire who was born into a nomadic Syrian family. He seems to see something of himself in Cruden's background, presumably a reference to the All Black first-five-eighths overcoming cancer.

"I like the man, his story, where he came from," Altrad told Kent Johns on the Radio Sport Breakfast show.

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"I found some similarities with my own personal history, where I was born in a nomadic area in Syria.

Listen: Montpelier owner Mohed Altrad on the Radio Sport Breakfast

"I faced a lot of stress, a lot of trouble in the early years of my life and overcame almost all of this to become one of the most important men in France and probably Europe.

"I found something to go through difficulties, adversity, to become someone."

Altrad said he had been in contact with Cruden for a year. The player and his wife travelled to Montpelier in December, before agreeing to the reported $3.6m three-year deal.

"He explained to me he had several options and he needed some time to make up his mind. We are very pleased with this announcement," said Altrad, who has hired another Kiwi Vern Cotter as the club's new coach.

"The man and the player are very attractive to me personally, and to the whole team.

"Montpelier is the youngest club in the Top 14, only 30 years old...(others) are more than one century in existence. We are trying to catch up this lack of a profound history and we think Aaron will play a major role in this project."


Altrad is a busy man - his rugby shopping spree includes trying to buy English club Gloucester.

Asked about more French raiding parties in this part of the world, Altrad said: "New Zealand is the place where rugby is the most advanced in the world.

"This is an example for us, we are full of admiration for what you are doing in terms of rugby.

New Montpelier coach Vern Cotter. Photo / David Gibson Photopress
New Montpelier coach Vern Cotter. Photo / David Gibson Photopress

"We approached a few more players in the past and we took on Rene Ranger - he helped us to progress and now we are very happy to have Aaron.

"We have a few New Zealanders in France - something like 12 All Blacks. The Top 14 has the most powerful finance, the salaries are up there and set a sort of mark. These highly talented players a worth a lot of money."