The good news continues for the Chiefs, with first five-eighths Aaron Cruden re-signing with the franchise through to 2014.

The 23-year-old moved from the Hurricanes in the off-season and had his strongest game for his new side last week.

If there had been a criticism of Aaron Cruden in the past, it is that he can get ahead of himself, relying on his instinctive running skills. During the 24-19 defeat of the Crusaders, he showed he could control a match from start to finish, too.

"It's certainly one of his areas of focus," said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, whom Cruden followed from Manawatu to the Hamilton franchise.


"We all know he's a threat with the ball in hand and taking on the line, but he wants to be able to dictate through his boot as well, so that's a good sign.

"His ability to run a game is developing."

The Chiefs are a surprising 2-1 after dropping their first match to the Highlanders. In the past fortnight they have rolled the Blues and the Crusaders, the traditional heavyweights of Super rugby, giving cause for hope to a Chiefs fanbase that had become apathetic over the past two years of middling performances.

The deal ties Cruden to New Zealand rugby also, so there will be a few eyebrows raised that it expires the year before the next World Cup, to be hosted by England.

"It was an easy decision for me, as I am really enjoying my footy in New Zealand and looking forward to the challenges that the next few years will bring," Cruden said.

Cruden was destined for stardom after being named IRB junior player of the year in 2009.

Last year, he missed selection in the World Cup squad as Colin Slade was preferred as Daniel Carter's understudy, but played a starring role in the semifinal win against Australia when those two players were invalided out of the tournament.

In the final Cruden hyper-extended his knee in the first half and had to battle to be fit in time for the start of the Super 15.

"He is an outstanding young man and really exemplifies what a young rugby player should be," said NZRU head Steve Tew, "and we are delighted that he has recommitted himself to New Zealand rugby."