Rebel Rangi refuses to give up on Wallabies dream

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

He's been integral to Melbourne's charge to the top of the Australian Super Rugby ladder, but hooker Anaru Rangi doesn't appear to be on the radar of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika

Despite the World Cup six just months away and the Wallabies No.2 role far from being settled, Rangi says he hasn't had any contact from Cheika this year so is seemingly out of the mix.

Try-scoring Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga'a appears the frontrunner along with veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Fellow Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese, who was in the Wallabies frame until suffering a knee injury mid last year, is still a month away from playing.

Ahead of their clash with the Sunwolves at AAMI Park on Saturday night Rangi said all he could do was keep performing in the hope of catching the eyes of selectors.

Rebels hooker anaru Rangi throwing into the lineout. Photo: Getty Images

He hoped that his age - 30 - didn't count against him.

"It's still a huge carrot that I'm chasing," said the Kiwi-born rake, who qualifies for the Wallabies through residency.

"I hope it's form that matters most, and hard work, and as long as I keep doing that I reckon I still have a crack.

"It's still fairly early days so I'll keep pushing hard."

Rangi, who worked as a builder before making his Super Rugby debut for the Western Force in 2016, won the Rebels' players' player last season.

He credited his rise to prominence to the stiff competition for a starting jersey at Melbourne, with fellow Kiwi Robbie Abel, Uelese and rising star Hugh Roach also pushing for a start.

"There's massive competition here every week, competing, scratching and clawing to get every minute you can on the weekend," Rangi said.

 

"When you're training at that kind of intensity, come the game it's almost just like another training run."

While he gave up midweek beers and changed his diet when he got serious about his rugby, Rangi said the Rebels were now at him to add some more bulk to his 117kg frame.

But he didn't want to if it would affect his work-rate, which has proved so valuable for the team.

"The conditioning team wouldn't mind if I put a bit of weight on but I like to be busy out there and the work-rate thing is a big thing for me," he said.