RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest Super Rugby from New Zealand.
Ranger needs to stay
Rene Ranger has proved to be a key factor in the Blues’ resurgence, and coach John Kirwan is expecting the NZRU to keep him in New Zealand.
Ranger’s shift to midfield, a position that many might think is a change from wing, is in fact the player’s original position of choice. Ranger has been a catalyst in the Blues backline, having scored 10 tries in two matches, the most of any of the teams so far.
Rumours indicate that Ranger has signed a lucrative contract in Europe, where he is set to earn mulitples of his current salary, and this concerns Kirwan.
It should concern All Black coach Steve Hanson as well, seeing as his midfield stocks are pretty low after the loss of Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui to Japan at the end of the season, and Conrad Smith’s current sabbatical.
We can just hope that sanity prevails and the current All Blacks are signed into water tight contracts.
Kaino ponders comeback
World Cup winning All Black Jerome Kaino is back in New Zealand and looking for a team to represent.
Kaino left for Japan after the 2011 World Cup, taking a break from the intense Super Rugby and making some money, but wants to return earlier than expected to try and win back his International jersey.
Kaino was nominated as the IRB Player of the Year in 2011, and was unlucky not to win it, but will be a forgotten man when All Blacks coach Steve Hanson puts his team together for the June Internationals.
In Kaino’s absence, players like Victor Vito, Liam Messam and even Brad Shields have put their names in the hat, and will all be in the running to run out in the six jersey for the All Blacks.
When asked about Kaino, Blues coach Kirwan indicated that he would like to have Kaino back, but so would any of the other New Zealand franchises. The Highlanders would like to replace Adam Thomson with a player like Kaino and it will come down to which team can afford to match his Japan contract that will sign the player.