The Western Force have announced the signing of local front-row forward Anaru Rangi for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The 27-year-old had a remarkable 2016, from working as a scaffolder Monday to Friday and playing for local Premier Grade team Nedlands on the weekend, to being injected into the Force squad in April and then going on to make his Super Rugby debut against the Bulls in Round 10 in Perth.
The Wellington-born prop went on to play a further four games for the club, bringing an intensity and physicality that saw him gain the respect of his fellow teammates.
Rangi says it’s a dream come true to have signed a Super Rugby contract and reflects on the past season as an incredible few months.
“I’m just really excited to rip in,” he told the Western Force's official website.
“I can’t wait to get stuck in to the next few months and next year.
“It’s been a whirlwind few months actually, but I’ve loved every minute of it. I keep having to pinch myself every morning as I get up to play a bit of footy for a job.”
The 2016 debutant says he attributes his physicality on the field to a strong mindset.
“I definitely see my physicality as one of my strengths and try to keep a pretty uncompromising attitude out on the field, that’s the way I like to play.”
Western Force head coach Dave Wessels says the attitude and dedication Anaru has shown plus his current form in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) factored into the decision.
“Anaru is a product of the [Buildcorp] NRC program, that’s where we first got some exposure to him and we have watched him grow since then," he said.
“He is affectionately known as the ‘Axe Murderer’ and he is an incredibly physical player and at only 27 we still think he has plenty of good rugby years ahead of him.
“The other point about Anaru is the level of commitment he has shown since coming on board on a supplementary contract, which has warranted an upgrade to an EPS contract, and shows how desperately he wants to be successful at Super Rugby level and those are exactly the kind of people that we want at this club.”