Montpellier pounce on Ranger

MARK KEOHANE reports the latest Super Rugby news from New Zealand.

Rene wings it in Top 14

Blues winger Rene Ranger will play for Montpellier in the Top 14. Ranger, a three-Test All Black in 2010, will join the club on the completion of the Blues Super Rugby campaign.

Ranger has been linked to a French club move since missing out on the All Blacks 2011 World Cup squad but the report of his signing has come directly from Montpellier.

Dagg in merry go round

Israel Dagg will start on the wing for the Crusaders against the Blues. The All Blacks fullback played centre in the pre-season as coach Todd Blackadder looks to Dagg’s versatility and not necessarily his best position, which is fullback.

The Crusaders, without Richie McCaw until July, have picked seven All Blacks in their starting pack and all four Whitelock brothers are in the match squad.

Crusaders: Tom Taylor, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Subs: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Tom Marshall.

Conrad in the clear

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will start against the Reds in Brisbane. Smith was concussed against the Blues but passed the necessary tests this week.

The Canes coach Mark Hammett has made one change to the side beaten at home in their tournament opener.

Canes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields, Karl Lowe, Victor Vito, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Subs: Motu Motu’u, Reggie Goodes, James Broadhurst, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, James Marshall, Reynold Lee-Lo.