The Blues beat the Brumbies 39-34 in Round 6 of the Super 14 on Friday, with makeshift centre Rene Ranger standing out as one of the best players on the park on the night.
Injury troubles throughout the first six weeks of the competition have meant that the Blues have been without the options of Anthony Tuitavake, Isaia Toeava, George Pisi, and Luke McAlister.
This forced coach Pat Lam to take a chance on the powerful 23 year old, whos normally a winger and showed a lot of promise with his pace and physicality last season. The gamble paid off as Ranger was involved in most of the Blues attacks and made his presence felt on defence.
“Rene was there initially because he was our last option to use,” Lam admitted. “He certainly has the skill-set. All he is lacking is the experience. But he has that thing I like in rugby players – no fear. He likes to have a go.”
Hes now proving to be a real success in the heart of the action, and showed his power as he smashed Brumbies centre Christian Lealiifano into sometime next week. To his credit though, Lealiifano jumped straight back up and showed no ill effects from the impact.
Ranger is in the headlines today though for a different reason, and that is that his name has been revealed as the player who was involved in the assault case from last October. He allegedly assaulted a man, leaving him unconscious, outside the Mangawhai Tavern in Auckland in August.
Initially he was granted interim name suppression, but the judge later lifted the suppression order. Rangers lawyer appealed, only to be rejected and have the order lifted, and his name made public, earlier today.
Ranger is expected to go on trial later this year or early next year.
“Im disappointed that I was involved in something and that it has got to this stage. Its not good for me or my family and its not good on the team,” said Ranger.
“Its now in the courts hands. I have just got to get on with my job and do what is best for this team,” he added.
Head coach Lam said that the Blues will not take any further action against Ranger.