Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Unattached All Blacks focus on test

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 some offer lands in his Central Otago mailbox or computer in-box pretty soon.

Julian Savea is also unattached but he does have 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 frontrow 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 from Hore about the 'R" word nor is he being excessively bullish about his chances of making the 2015 World Cup.

He was being nicer to young deputy Dane Coles in case he needed spectator tickets for that tournament. Having a younger man challenge himself 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 ... and the best thing I have is I know have something I want to do when I finish up and get away from footy.

"If you asked most rugby players what they want to do when they finish playing rugby they don't know but I am one of the lucky ones and can freshen up the mind."

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," he said.

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

"It is a new concept and hopefully we get the scrum sorted and we don't kill it just because the halfback is not putting it in where it is supposed to be."

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

Age and experience were valuable commodities in the front row. Some lost a bit of speed but you did not have to be really fast to play hooker and that suited Hore who liked to get stuck into rucks and mauls and his other core work.

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

- APNZ

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