Rene Ranger back from injury

Wellsford’s Rene Ranger is back on the rugby field after spending a season recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

Colorado Raptors announced last month that it had signed the 33-year-old Ranger for the 2020 Major League Rugby season in the United States.

Kiwi-born Raptors head coach Peter Borlase said Ranger was a good choice, having played rugby at the highest level in both northern and southern hemisphere competitions during his career.

“Rene is known for his direct physical style of play and good distribution skills. He is a top man with humility, a hard work ethic and a team-first attitude,” Borlase said.

“His years of service in developing Northland rugby are exactly what we want in the type of player joining us here in Colorado.”

At the start of the 2019 season, Ranger was to play for the Japanese Sunwolves team, but ruptured his ACL in a pre-season game against the Singapore Sharks. He joins the Colorado Raptors in the US this week to prepare for the season that starts in February with two pre-season matches in January.

Meanwhile, it has also been announced that Ranger will play for the Northland Taniwha in the Mitre 10 Cup next year.

Other Wellsford players who have made the cut include Ross Wright, Paddy-Jo Atkins and Jordan Hyland, while Temo Mayanavanua, Sam McNamara and Saimoni Uluinakauvadra join from Waipu.

Despite the Mitre 10 Cup season only finishing last month, the first steps in shaping the draw for next year have been made, with the 14 provincial unions making their selections for crossover matches between the premiership and championship divisions.

Northland has picked North Harbour to play in Whangarei and will take on Tasman on their home turf in Nelson.

Waikato has invited itself to Whangarei, picking Northland for its crossover while Auckland has challenged Northland to play in Auckland.