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Ranger riding back to NZ rugby

NZN 3/03/2015
The former Northland captain will play for North Harbour in the national provincial championship this year. © Michael Steele/Getty Images The former Northland captain will play for North Harbour in the national provincial championship this year.

WELLINGTON, NZN - Former All Black Rene Ranger is returning to New Zealand after gaining an early release from his French club Montpellier and is keen to win back a black jersey.

The 28-year-old, capped six times by his country, is coming home primarily for family reasons.

"Family comes first and that is the big motivator to return. I want to be able to help my Mum more," Ranger said.

The former Northland captain will play for North Harbour in the national provincial championship this year and will rejoin the Blues for next year's Super Rugby season.

He joined Montpellier in 2013 on a two-year deal after forcing his way back into the All Blacks for three Tests against France that year - three years after first making the side.

Ranger, who has scored 25 tries in 65 games for the Blues, believes he will return to the franchise an improved player for his French sojourn.

"I will come home a better rugby player. I am mentally stronger and I've learned a lot that I can bring back into the Blues environment," he said.

He said he is focused on pushing for a spot in the All Blacks.

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan, whose side have lost the opening three games of their 2015 campaign, says the blockbusting winger or centre will give them an added attacking threat.

"Rene made his mark on the game in this country as a remarkable attacking player, always able to break tackles, often when there was nothing on," Kirwan said.

"His experience in Europe will have helped further round his skills and add to his experience."

Ranger will return in the middle of the year to link up with North Harbour with the change in province motivated by a desire to have his family together in the one city.

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