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HomeSportsRangi Chase prepares for next chapter of career with West Wales Raiders

Rangi Chase prepares for next chapter of career with West Wales Raiders

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He has said it before but this time there is a sense of warmth and sincerity in his voice as Rangi Chase looks forward to the next chapter of his colourful rugby league career with West Wales Raiders.

The former Castleford favourite had the world at his feet when he was named Super League Man of Steel in 2011 but – after playing for England in the World Cup two years later – his career went into a steady decline, fuelled by drink and drugs as he struggled to retain control of his personal life.

In 2016 the naturally-gifted playmaker gave up the game due to depression before making a comeback with his old club Castleford and moving on to Widnes but it all came crashing down in August 2017 when he tested positive for cocaine and was handed a two-year ban.

Chase turned to manual labour during his enforced lay-off, working in a warehouse and with a fireproofing firm, before returning to rugby league two years ago as a part-time player with Doncaster.

He showed glimpses of his unique talent plying his trade in the third tier of the game, certainly enough to catch the eye of ambitious West Wales Raiders, who followed up the capture of rugby union ace Gavin Henson with that of the 34-year-old Chase.

Chase was appointed Raiders captain and is now preparing to make his debut, alongside Henson, in their Betfred Challenge Cup first-round tie against one of his old clubs, seven-times winners Widnes, at Stebonheath Park on Sunday.

Chase was only a month into a two-year deal with the Vikings when he failed his drugs test but he has fond memories of his brief time at his last Super League club.

“I had a great time there,” he told the PA news agency. “It was up there with Castleford.

“I just wasn’t doing great things. I was in a bad place, I had personal issues and made some bad decisions.

“I created a lot of the drama that was happening in my life. I suppose I’m one of them people who learn the hard way.

“There’s no excuses for what I’ve done. Things happen and you move on, life goes on. I’ve picked myself back up and I feel in a great place.”

Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity – Betfred Super League – Magic Weekend – Day One – St James’ Park
Rangi Chase, playing here for Widnes, who will provide his first opponents as West Wales captain on Sunday (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Chase was contemplating a move to France after making the decision to leave Doncaster but was quickly tempted by the ambition of the Raiders and the opportunity to link up with Australian coach Aaron Wood, who he remembered from his playing days in the NRL.

“I was looking for a change,” he said. “I wanted to get out of Yorkshire because I’d been around there so long.

“I was getting a bit stagnant and I needed a new challenge. I was either going to go to France or Wales.

“I got speaking to Aaron – I played against him in my younger days – and then the club sold it to me.

Rugby League – World Cup 2013 – Group A – England v Ireland – John Smith’s Stadium

Rangi Chase helps Ryan Hall celebrate his hat-trick in the 2013 World Cup (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“They’re very ambitious and want to head in the right direction. I think I can contribute.”

Chase moved down to south Wales and has a job installing and repairing gym equipment during the day, while training twice a week in the evenings with his new club.

“I love Wales,” he said. “The people are beautiful. I’ve got a good job here and I’m not too far away from my three kids in Yorkshire.

“I can’t complain. At the moment I feel like it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

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