TOBY ROBSON FAIRFAXRUN OF RUMOURS: Hosea Gear says it is not accurate to ink “former Hurricane” next to his name if he is selected to play the Wallabies. “Obviously there is some interest from down south…[but] I’m keeping my options open.”
Hosea Gear has left the door open for the Hurricanes and is denying he has been caught up in the emotional aftermath of a turbulent Super Rugby season.
Rumours are swirling around Wellington that the All Blacks wing will join the exodus and head south to the Highlanders next season.
Gear is set to start Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park on the left wing in a backline that could include up to five 2011 Hurricanes.
But he said yesterday it was not accurate to ink “former Hurricane” next to his name if he is selected to play the Wallabies.
“Nah, I’m just working through my New Zealand rugby contract. I have to deal with that before dealing with Super Rugby.
“Obviously there is some interest from down south as well. I’m keeping my options open, but I haven’t made a decision yet.
“I’m at the stage where I have a young family on the way and I’m not getting any younger, so I’ve really brought my family into consideration there and am putting them ahead of my rugby right now. So I guess if my family is happy, I’ll be happy playing footy.”
With his partner expecting a baby later this year and the couple settled in Wellington, there could be hope for the Hurricanes yet.
Gear said he had too much on his own plate in World Cup year to take too much interest when problems at the franchise began to surface.
He had missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury and was desperate to get back to the form that saw him finish 2010 as the incumbent All Blacks test wing.
“Toward the end of the season when all the disruption was sort of happening, all I could do was really focus on doing my best on the field and that’s where my focus was.
“That was my mindset and that helped me. I had to nail my game and I can’t let any distractions or anything come in.
“I wasn’t really too worried about what was happening off the field and that sort of stuff. It probably didn’t get up my nose as much as some of the other guys.”
It was a similar story when Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph was coaching the Wellington Lions, with Gear said to have been a fan of tough, but unpopular training sessions.
the pair worked together in the New Zealand Maori and Gear is a consummate professional when it comes to work ethic.
to add to the confusion Joseph was reported yesterday as rating Gear a 50-50 chance of heading south.
It continues to be the area the All Blacks coaches push in discussions with Gear and after six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring strain he says it will be his focus if he plays against Australia.
“It’s a matter of getting in the mindset of playing again, back into the routine. I’ve been out for a while, so it’s just picking up where I left off.”
Gear appears set to wear the no 11 jersey, with Cory Jane firming to play on the right wing after Sitiveni Sivivatu limped out of training yesterday with a sore knee.
Piri Weepu could get a start at halfback, while an unchanged midfield of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith would take the Hurricane count to five.
Oddly, Jimmy Cowan took little part in training, though he was not listed as injured.
the other injury concern was a knee knock to loosehead prop Ben Franks, though Wyatt Crockett may have earned another start in the front row, and possibly Ali Williams at lock.
the All Blacks side is to be named on Thursday morning.
meanwhile, the Wallabies will arrive in Auckland tonight after naming a 24-man squad notable for the absence of stalwarts first five-eighth Matt Giteau and lock Nathan Sharpe.
Reserve halfback Luke Burgess has recovered from a fractured hand and wing Lachie Turner and locks Dan Vickerman and Sitaleki Timani join the squad at the expense of scrumhalf Nick Phipps and Sharpe.
– the Dominion Post