One explosive All Black is leaving the Top 14 to return to New Zealand

Rene Ranger has secured an early released from his Montpellier contract.

THE NEW ZEALAND Rugby Union has confirmed that Rene Ranger has gained an early release from his contract with Montpellier and will return home later this year.

Rene Ranger Ranger will leave Montpellier at the end of the season. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

The explosive 28-year-old joined the Top 14 club in 2013, but after a two-season stint that he has only intermittently enjoyed, Ranger will be back in Super Rugby from 2016.

The outside centre/wing will move home to New Zealand following the conclusion of the current Top 14 season, and will be available to play in the ITM Cup for North Harbour later this year.

Ranger will also be keen to re-launch an All Blacks career that has seen him win just six caps, a low total for a player of his dynamic power and pace.

Family comes first and that is the big motivator to return. I want to be able to help my Mum more,” Ranger said of his decision to re-join the Blues in Super Rugby.

“I started my Super career with them and they have always been close to me. JK [Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan] has always backed me and motivated me to be my best.”

“They are a quality side, but execution is letting them down so far. Hopefully I can play a positive role because backs get excited with the sort of front-foot ball the Blues are getting.

“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.”

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It is understood Ranger did not wholly enjoy working under Montpellier coach Fabian Galthié, although the introduction of South African Jake White in place of the former France scrum-half has improved matters somewhat.

The Whangerai native has scored six Top 14 tries in his 26 starts so far, but hasn’t managed to transfer his all-action game to the French league on a totally successful level.

While many All Blacks have confirmed moves to France following the World Cup, or are currently in the process of negotiating deals with the wealthy Top 14 clubs, Ranger has reversed the trend to return home.

“He’s a classy player with the ability to surprise and that makes him a favourite of fans,” said NZRU chief executive Steve Tew. ”He will have learnt much from his time in France and is sure to be an exciting draw card for the Blues and North Harbour.”

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