Blues winger Ranger confirms move to France

All Blacks and Blues winger has confirmed that he will leave his All Black career and will be heading to France at the end of the year on a lucrative contract with Montpellier.

Blues winger Ranger ended weeks of speculation about his future just hours after he learned he had earned a place in the starting side for Saturday’s third Test against France after explosive performances off the bench in the first two Tests.

“It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” he said when confirming the move to Montpellier after several weeks of deflecting questions about his future.

“I’m finally heading off after the end of the year so exciting times. It’s all been confirmed.”

The 26-year-old, who was recalled to the All Blacks this year after three years in the wilderness, added he was unsure if he would try to re-ignite his Test career when his contract with the Top 14 French club expired.

“I’d love to come back home but that’s two years away so we’ll see what happens.”

The blockbusting wing has enjoyed a stellar season with the Auckland Blues in the Super 15 competition this year, and earned an All Blacks jersey for the first time since he appeared in three Tests in 2010.

However, at the end of last year, when it appeared his international career was over, he signed an agreement to play for Montpellier from the end of the 2013 season.

Once back in the All Blacks fold Ranger has been looking to get out of the deal, but New Zealand media reports said the NZ$300,000 (US$236,000) fee to walk away from the contract proved too much.

Ranger has built a reputation as a bruising runner with the ball, but his elevation to the starting side on Saturday will be only his second start in six Tests.

Had Ranger stayed in New Zealand it is expected that he would have continued to play for the Blues so his move to France is a blow for the Blues next season as he has been one of their best players in 2013.

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