Former All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden turned down a 1 million euro (NZ$1.7m) offer to play for English side Bristol before signing with French club Montpellier.

Montpellier's billionaire owner Mohed Altrad revealed in the Mail on Sunday that his Top 14 club offered the 47-test All Black a lesser contract then what was on the table from the English side.

"We offered him €800,000 [£715,000] a year. His agent told me Bristol had offered more than €1million, yet he chose to join us," Altrad told the British newspaper.

In August, Bristol signed former All Blacks outside back Charles Piutau to a reported 1 million pound a year deal, estimated to be the richest contract in rugby.


Cruden confirmed in January that he signed a three-year deal with Montpellier and joined the club after the Super Rugby season.

"I've signed a three-year deal with Montpellier in France, a beautiful part of the world," Cruden said in a video statement at the time.

"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.

Montpellier currently sit second in the Top 14 standings with five wins from their opening seven matches, but Cruden has been hampered with a rib and a thigh injury.