Gear opts for Highlanders switch
September 5, 2011
Gear had been linked with a move overseas but has opted for a move to Dunedin © Getty Images
Kiwi speedster Hosea Gear has shunned a move overseas and signed a new two-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union that will see him switch to the Highlanders from next year.
The 27-year-old winger was a notable casualty when All Blacks head coach Graham Henry announced his Rugby World Cup squad last month and was immediately linked with a lucrative move to Europe but instead he has opted for a fresh challenge in New Zealand having spent the last five-year with the Wellington-based Hurricanes.
"The past few weeks have been challenging, with lots of soul-searching and discussions with my family about what was best for me, and for them," said Gear. "It was not an easy decision to leave the Hurricanes, but I believe I am making the best decision for me.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the team environment with the New Zealand Maori team under Jamie Joseph [Highlanders coach] last year, and I'm looking forward to joining him and the Highlanders," he said.
Joseph was delighted with Gear's signing and backed him to make an immediate impact. "This is a huge score for the Highlanders," he said. "Hosea has a combined speed, power and athleticism that makes him a standout in any team he plays in, and he's a nuisance for anyone defending him. His experience will be a huge asset to the Highlanders next year, and we're delighted to have him."
NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said Gear's re-commitment showed his strength of character as a professional rugby player. "We know how close Hosea was this year, and I think it shows an incredible amount of maturity and tenacity to decide he still has his eye on a black jersey and that's fantastic," he said. "While this will obviously be a disappointment for Hurricanes fans, Highlanders fans will no doubt enjoy having him as part of their campaign next year."
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