Blues star, Rene Ranger has hit out at the Northland Rugby Union. The former Taniwha captain cites the poor use of union resources around the region as an integral part to their on-field failings.
He's devastating on the field, but what Rene Ranger now has to say may be devastating for his former employer.
“You hear stories of things not happening behind the scenes, and there's heaps of little things and it's hard to point the finger at what it actually is,” says Ranger.
Not one to hold back, Ranger is lifting the lid on formal operations at Northland Rugby Union.
Ranger says he wants to see communities properly resourced, “Be great for the resources to finally get out in those small communities from way up north right down to Wellsford.”
However, the CEO of Northland Rugby Jeremy Parkinson says that Ranger's claims are unsubstantiated, “We've never been more in touch with our communities and just this year we've a Rugby Development Officer in Mangonui, a Rugby Development Officer in the Bay of Islands, and a Rugby Development Officer in Northern Wairoa, and we've got a presence throughout Northland for the first time in a long time.”
Although Ranger is currently contracted to the North Harbour Rugby Union, the words of one of the most revered Taniwha players still resonates in the North.
“You know it's probably a bit slower up north rather than in places like Auckland and North Harbour, with more resources and stuff down these ways, up north it's a bit slower,” says Ranger
Ranger wants to see the smaller communities given preference when it comes to resources, “Little things like gas vouchers, and stuff like that player making academics you know, they'd rather work and make money then be travelling.”
But the union doesn't agree and Parkinson says he would like the opportunity to discuss the issue, “I'd love to catch up with Rene to see where in fact these allegations and these questions are coming from.”
Back and forth by both sides, it seems this issue is far from over.
The Northland Rugby Union has come under fire from one of the club’s former players, Blues star Rene Ranger (Ngāpuhi, Cook Island Māori).
Ranger says the team has been failing miserably on the field as a result of poor operational management by the Union.
“We’re a big union, and with all the talent – something has got to start happening,” says Ranger.
The former Taniwha captain played 64 tests in the Cambridge Blue, and says a lot of players were unhappy with how they were paid by the union.
The Taniwha hope to recover from one of their worst national provincial seasons to date –10 losses from 10 games in the 2015 ITM Cup.
“You hear stories of things not happening behind the scenes, and there's heaps of little things,” says Ranger.
The Blues centre says that the state of affairs in Northland rugby has meant that smaller rugby communities in the North are not receiving the resources from the union to grow the game.
“It’ll be great for the resources to finally get out in those small communities from way up north right down to Wellsford,” he adds.
Despite 29-year-old Ranger being contracted to the North Harbour Rugby Union, he says more needs to be done to accommodate the needs of Northland’s home grown playing talent.
“It's probably a bit slower up North than in places like Auckland and North Harbour, with more resources.”
With North Harbour scheduled to face Northland in the final match of this year’s National Provincial competition, chances are, a lot more than competition points will be on the line.
Sports Reporter, Raniera Harrison speaks exclusively with Rene Ranger, and the CEO of Northland Rugby, Jeremy Parkinson will respond to the claims.
Te Kāea, 5:30pm, on Māori Television.