Left in 2007 when aged 24 and a starting All Black. Returned in 2009 but didn't have the same sharpness or agility, which the All Blacks selectors discovered after rushing him straight into the team. He didn't play a test after 2009 and, by 2011, was struggling to start for the Blues. Returned to France in 2011 and was the poster boy for failed comebacks.
Gear could never quite hold an All Blacks place and headed offshore
in 2013. The prospect of making the World Cup squad was too hard to resist so he signed with the Chiefs in 2015. But Gear never got going. He didn't have a broad enough portfolio of skills - something he may have developed had he never left New Zealand.
A classy inside back, Bowden left for England in 2010 just as he was surfacing on the All Blacks' radar. He settled well over there - was touted as a possible test pick once he qualified - but came home to have another crack at playing for New Zealand. He would have been way off selection when the World Cup squad was being finalised.