New Zealand Rugby
Gear opts for Highlanders switch
ESPNscrum Staff
September 5, 2011
Hosea Gear fields questions about his future after being dropped from the All Blacks squad, Rugby League Park, Wellington, New Zealand, August 24, 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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