Ranger to take centre stage

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:41
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After shifting between the midfield and different wings last season, Blues livewire Rene Ranger is focussing on making the No.13 jersey his own in 2013.

After shifting between the midfield and different wings last season, Blues livewire Rene Ranger is focussing on making the No.13 jersey his own in 2013.

With stocks thinning in the midfield for the All Blacks, there are huge opportunities for Ranger to reclaim the black jersey he wore on three occasions in 2010.

“This year I’ve had a yarn with JK [John Kirwan] and I’m keen to play centre and try to cement that spot. I want to get better at it so hopefully I get to play a bit more centre this season,” Ranger said.

 “It’s always a goal to get back in that black jersey. I missed out after ITM Cup for the end-of-year tour last year but that’s rugby for you.

“The key thing is to try and play well for the Blues, make them look good, hopefully make yourself look good and then you never know you might get those higher honours with the All Blacks.”

He’s still got the trademark smile and jovial attitude, but there is a steelier edge to Ranger this season as he takes up a leadership role in the franchise’s new-look backline.

One of only two backs remaining from last year’s campaign, the 26-year-old is heading into his fifth campaign with the Blues in 2013 and has stepped us as a leader amongst a young and enthusiastic group.

“JK’s put more of a leadership role on me this year as I’m getting to that veteran stage with the Blues in the backline,” Ranger said.

“Piri and I are the only ones here from last year but then again you’ve got all these young guys coming in, they’ve got good feet, they’re fast and I need to set the example by playing well.”

But that’s not going to deter Ranger from expressing his comical character.

Always one for a practical joke and a laugh, Ranger said he would strike a balance between having fun and getting down to business.

“I’m a joker and I always like to smile and keep the boys happy but there’s a balance where you’ve got to be serious as well. The young boys are really into it and they want to learn so hopefully when I speak up some of the stuff I say gets through.

“That used to be me, you either listen or you don’t but then again it may help you play better rugby. I’ve done that in the past with the likes of Rox [Joe Rokocoko], Ant Tuitavake and Isaia Toeava who really helped my game so hopefully I can do the same with this new generation of Blues players coming through.”

Whilst mentoring some of the new faces in the Blues backline, Ranger has also been working hard on his own game during the off-season.

His boxing match in December’s Fight for Life has seen the Northland star return to pre-season in the best shape he’s ever been in.

He’s fitter than ever, he’s lost weight while maintaining his strength and he’s clocking some of the fastest times over 10 metres for his position in New Zealand.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19