New Zealand Rugby
Highlanders set to bag Hore
ESPNscrum Staff
August 2, 2011

All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore looks set to complete a one-year deal with the Highlanders ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Hore - who started for the All Blacks against the Springboks on Saturday - has a farm in Maniototo and will return to the south of New Zealand having played the last ten seasons away from Otago. Hore was discarded by the Hurricanes - along with fellow international centre Ma'a Nonu - at the end of the 2011 season.

Nonu opted to join the Blues and will be joined there by fellow All Blacks back Piri Weepu. Aaron Cruden, meanwhile, has opted to join the Chiefs with Neemia Tialata choosing to move overseas.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph was delighted to have secured his man and admitted he had to be patient in his pursuit of the 52-cap hooker.

"We had to make sure everyone is making the decision for the right reasons," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times. "From his perspective he had to make sure he was not rushing into a commitment for our team on the rebound from what happened at the Hurricanes. And he had to understand what we are about."

Hosea Gear has also been linked with a move to the Highlanders though the winger is still weighing up another season in Wellington with Joseph admitting any possible move is 50:50. "He is considering coming to the Highlanders and less than a year ago there would be no way a player of that calibre would have looked at us. So that is nice and positive for us."

Hore will face competition for a first team berth at the Highlanders in the guise of Jason Rutledge. And Highlanders general manager Roger Clark insists money had not been an issue in their recruitment of Hore and insisted the franchise did not seek additional assistance from the national union in securing his signature.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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