New Zealand Rugby
Hore relishing Highlanders return
ESPNscrum Staff
January 14, 2012
New Zealand's Andrew Hore works on his line-out skills, All Blacks training session, North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, August 11, 2011
Andrew Hore still has international ambitions © Getty Images
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All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore is relishing the chance to pull on the Highlanders jersey after years of turning out for their Wellington rivals.

The Kiwi international cut ties with the Hurricanes at the end of the 2011 Super Rugby in what was a mass exodus from the Wellington franchise. Hore was joined by the likes of Ma'a Nonu, Aaron Cruden and Piri Weepu in departing from the 'Canes and for Hore it provided him the chance to journey back to the south of New Zealand close to his farm in Maniototo.

"It has all worked out pretty well," Hore told the Otago Daily Times. "I have made a lot of good friends up there ... but there are no real regrets coming back here. Being a Highlander is something special and all my mates are ... supporters.

"I guess it sunk in when I realised I could just get in the car and drive to work rather than say goodbye to everyone, fill the suitcase up and head to Wellington. It is a new challenge with a new team and obviously we've got a new stadium. And I suppose I'll be able to go to my local pub and talk about how the Highlanders are going to go instead of getting grief about being a Hurricane.

"It is the breath of fresh air you need after reaching one [of] your major goals, which was the World Cup."

The Highlanders' first match of the 2012 Super Rugby season is on February 25 against Kiwi rivals the Chiefs and Hore hopes for a successful campaign.

"There is definitely a bit of a buzz here," Hore said. "If you could pick a time to come to the Highlanders, this would be it. Jamie has got a great bunch of guys and he has got some good coaches around him. They did a really good job last year and got some belief."

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