Wellington - New Zealand center Rene Ranger may be forced to honour a contract with
French club Montpellier at the expense of his All Blacks career.
made his fourth test appearance for New Zealand - his first in three
years - as a replacement in last weekend's first Test against France at
Prior to his recall, Ranger - assuming his Test career
was over - signed a three-year contract with French club Montpellier
thought to worth more than $1 million.
Now, Ranger's management is
trying to negotiate his release from that contract to allow him to
pursue his revived international career. But All Blacks coach Steve
Hansen said on Thursday that decision may no longer be the players' to
Montpellier is reported to have asked Ranger to pay half the
value of his contract, as much as $500 000, to have his signing voided.
"From what I've just heard, the decision may not be his," Hansen said. "We were well aware of his contractual situation."
on Thursday defended his decision to name Ranger in his squad for the
three-Test series against France while knowing that he may not be
available to the All Blacks in future. Ranger was one of New Zealand's
best players in its 23-13 first Test win over France, making several
powerful runs after coming off the bench.
"But we've said right
from day one that if someone is playing well enough and is here for more
than just the one campaign, we would consider them if they were playing
better than everyone else," said Hansen. He's one of those guys, hence
why we picked him."
Hansen said Ranger provided the impact last
weekend that the All Blacks coaches wanted from their bench players. On
one of his storming late runs he knocked out France fullback Yohann
Huget, who had made an ineffective attempt to stop him.
dynamo when he comes off the bench and that's what you want from your
bench players," Hansen said. "You want world-class substitutes.
"He touched the ball twice last week, yet everyone is talking about how great he was, so that tells you what an impact he had.
didn't show a lot of finesse when he knocked the bloke out. He just ran
hard but again we were captured by that because he came out with intent
and purpose and lots of energy.
"If you wrote a job description for a substitute, all those words would be in it."
the same time, Hansen said he would continue to support All Blacks
wing Julian Savea who will play the first and second Tests against
France while facing charges of domestic violence.
Savea is accused
of assaulting his girlfriend - the mother of his only child - and faces
sentence when his case returns to court in September.
his obligation was to support the 22-year-old winger as he faced a
difficult time in his personal and professional life.
"It's a lot
for a young person, even an older person, to be able to handle," Hansen
said. "It's an unfortunate incident. It's not one that he's proud of or
any of us are.
"All we can do is support him and help him deal
with that process. There's a child involved as well which makes it even
more complicated. But he's working his way through that, as are all
parties, and I'm sure we will see the real Julian going forward which is
all we want."