Ranger turns his back on All Blacks

Sat, 03 Aug 2013 07:10
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French-bound utility back Rene Ranger has turned his back on the All Blacks.

The in-form Ranger opted to captain his Northland team in the upcoming NPC, rather than take up a place in the New Zealand national team.

Ranger was named in a 30-man All Blacks squad that trained in Auckland last week, despite having signed a contract with French club Montpellier, which he begins later this year.

The versatile Blues midfield back impressed for the All Blacks off the bench in June's three-Test series against France, and coach Steve Hansen had indicated he was in contention for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

However, Northland coach Derren Witcombe confirmed that Ranger had told him on Friday he would be available to captain the Taniwha's NPC campaign - which begins on August 17 with a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato in Hamilton.

It means his All Black career is likely over, as he leaves to play club rugby in France at the end of the year.

The All Black squad for the Rugby Championship is named on Sunday.