Melbourne Rebels starting XV hooker Anaru Rangi admits he is feeling the pressure to hold his spot in the number two jersey.
The reigning Melbourne Rebels MVP has been a consistent performer again this season, starting in eight of his nine games.
As Rangi prepares to line up four his tenth game of 2019, the forward says he understands the competition for spots between himself, Hugh Roach, Robbie Abel and Jordan Uelese, who’s now playing Club rugby in his return form an ACL injury.
“I’d be silly not to (feel the pressure),” Rangi said. “It’s all about channelling the pressure and using that to make myself better every week.
“Those other guys, Roachy, Jordan and Robbie are awesome talents, so really, I’ve got to keep pushing really hard to get the start and the game time which is what I’m focussing on.”
Rangi will be hard to dislodge from starting hooker though, as the 30-year-old is enjoying being part of a Rebels forward pack which currently has one of the best line outs in the competition with a 91% success rate.
While he may be forgiven for taking plaudits for his throwing efforts, Rangi believes the key to the Melburnians’ lineout success is down to the forward packs’ chemistry.
“It helps we’ve got a lot of tall guys in the team throwing the ball in to,” Rangi said jokingly.
“They (the forwards) also put a lot of work in, so it shows across the whole team and the whole pack that it’s functioning well.”
The Club’s forward pack will be tested against a Reds side which has enjoyed two consecutive wins over the Sharks and the Sunwolves.
Rangi believes one aspect of the Queenslanders game the Rebels will have quell is the Reds’ dominance around the ruck.
“They’re a well-functioning set piece dominant side who really hassle the ruck at the breakdown,” Rangi said. “So we’ll be looking to snuff that out and ensure our set piece is dominant as well.”