Rene Ranger 'open' to a move abroad
February 27, 2013
Rene Ranger could be a frontrunner for the All Blacks but he's also still open to a move overseas. © Getty Images
Despite reports his playing future lies in France centre Rene Ranger said he is "100 percent" focussed on the Blues' 2013 season, but admitted that a move off-shore at the end of the year "could be on the cards" if he receives the right offer.
With "no guarantees" of adding to his three All Blacks caps, the 26-year-old, now in his fifth season at Eden Park, is rumoured to be in talks with French Top 14 club Montpellier, which he confirmed is just one of many options that are available to him.
Inconsistency has seen Ranger overlooked for national selection since he debuted in 2010, but a call-up to Steve Hansen's squad for three Tests against France in June could prolong his stay in New Zealand.
"There are rumours but nothing is official yet," Ranger said at Blues training on Wednesday. "I haven't signed anything yet. A lot of clubs are on the ropes overseas so my options are open. At the moment, I'm signed with the NZRU for the year."
Ranger featured strongly for in Blues' 34-20 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday and was later voted the Player's Player by his peers.
With the All Blacks centre stocks about to be depleted Ranger, providing he maintains his form, would almost certainly be the front runner to fill in the No.13 jersey for the November tour to the UK.
Richard Kahui's defection to Japanese club rugby and Conrad Smith's sabbatical, both at the end of the year, would ensure Ranger is near the top of the list. However, he was wary of strong competition from the likes of Ben Smith and Robbie Fruean, who he will mark in Friday's encounter against the Crusaders.
"Everyone's dream is to play for the All Blacks ... I would like to put the jersey on again but at the end of the day I'm trying to do well for the Blues," Ranger added. "There are no guarantees of making the All Blacks - there are a lot of [other] players out there. I've got a lot to show but it's going to be hard."
Ranger's career has not been immune to off-field issues. He was accused of punching a Northland man unconscious in 2009, an offence he was cleared of last year.
Now considered a leader of what is a youthful Blues pack, Ranger has taken on the responsibility of setting a good example his aspiring team-mates and feels it has had a positive impact on his performances.
"I'm probably not so much of a joker," Ranger said. "I think putting a leadership role on me has helped me to play better and has helped me to help some of these young guys out."
Following the Super Rugby season Ranger will report for duty at Toll Stadium for the ITM Cup, but after that anything is possible. When quizzed about his contractual negotiations Ranger replied: "I haven't been in contact with anyone, my agent is sorting that out."
"It comes down to a mixture of things; we are getting older, Ranger added. "I guess if that offer comes and it's a good offer to go overseas then it could be on the cards."
Ranger has been named at centre in an unchanged line-up to face the Crusaders at Eden Park on Friday.
Blues: 1.Tom McCartney, 2.James Parsons, 3.Charlie Faumuina, 4.Cullum Retallick, 5.Ali Williams (c), 6.Steven Luatua, 7.Luke Braid, 8.Peter Saili, 9.Piri Weepu, 10.Chris Noakes, 11.George Moala, 12. Francis Saili, 13.Rene Ranger, 14.Frank Halai, 15. Charles Piutau. Reserves:16.Quentin MacDonald, 17.Angus Ta'avao, 18.Liaki Moli, 19.Brendan O'Conner, 20.Bryn Hall, 21.Baden Kerr, 22. Jackson Willison.