Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

All Blacks: Homeless Hore relishes test gig

Andrew Hore will pack-down in his 79th test when the All Blacks play Argentina. Photo / Getty Images
Andrew Hore will pack-down in his 79th test when the All Blacks play Argentina. Photo / Getty Images

Extraordinary is an overworked term in sport but two senior All Blacks without a Super 15 home fits that frame.

Andrew Hore may join Ma'a Nonu on gardening leave in 2014 unless an offer lands in his mailbox pretty soon.

Julian Savea is also unattached but he has a choice of several bases next year.

For now Hore, who blows out 35 candles next week, is preparing for his 79th test when he slots into the front row alongside comrade Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina.

"Part of being in the All Blacks is to do everything you can to play one game and once you have played one you want to play them all."

There is no mention of the 'R' word, nor is Hore being excessively bullish about his chances of making the 2015 World Cup. He was being nice to deputy Dane Coles in case he needed spectator tickets for that tournament. Having a younger man challenge him and Keven Mealamu was also a boon for the squad.

Being in the All Blacks was a great environment and it suited him to get into camp for a few weeks and then return to his Maniatoto farm where he could refresh. He stayed fit there and could recharge mentally as he worked on everything except his rugby dossier.
"The best thing is I have something to get away from footy... I know I have something I want to do when I finish up and get away from footy."

Hore played Argentina in his fifth test, way back in 2004 alongside Woodcock and Greg Somerville. It's always a contest Hore relishes.

"They are big men and they base their whole game around the scrum and lineout so scrum time will be interesting with both teams finding their way around the new rules," he said. "When you have to hook the ball, most teams see it as eight on seven if it is your feed, so it's going to be pretty interesting, so hopefully we get the ball in and out to give our backs some ball which is the key."

There was more heat on halfbacks to get the ball in straight but that was just like the pressure on hookers throwing the ball into the lineouts.

The All Blacks are working on a few variations, including the limits they think referee Jerome Garces will agree to tomorrow.

Age and experience are valuable commodities in the front row. Some lost a bit of speed but you don't have to be fast to play hooker, which suits Hore.

"I just enjoy getting among the physical stuff and doing your best and then sitting down after 50 minutes - it's not a bad gig."

- NZ Herald

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