Hosea Gear is coming home. The former All Blacks wing has signed with the Chiefs for next year's Super Rugby season, with the aim of winning a national recall and a spot in the World Cup squad.
Gear has been widely linked with a return to New Zealand, but it was initially thought he would rejoin the Highlanders, who he represented during the 2012/13 seasons.
Instead, the 30-year-old will add valuable power and finishing ability to the Chiefs' backline that will include Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Cruden next season.
Gear played the last of his 14 tests against Italy in 2012 before taking up a lucrative two-year deal with French club Toulouse. He's currently playing for Honda in Japan and will link up with Dave Rennie's Chiefs in February.
After scoring two tries for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham last year, Gear made his intentions to win back an All Blacks' jersey clear.
"From here I'm headed to Japan for one season, then I'm heading home in February to play Super Rugby to give myself the opportunity to challenge for the World Cup," he said after his two-try display.
"I played 33 matches, 80 minutes each one this season, but I think I needed some, looking ahead towards the World Cup, I think I needed some top-level, international class football.
"I think these two games gave me the opportunity to do that, so I was more than happy, I'm feeling good and I don't feel like I need a rest.
"I spoke to [All Blacks coach] Steve Hansen before I left, I mentioned the possibility that I could come back and he was all for that, he said 'make sure you do come back'.
"At the same time it will probably help create a little bit more depth in New Zealand rugby for the World Cup if anything happens.
"So that was the last time I heard. And for me it's going to be a massive challenge.
"The outside backs they've got at the moment have been doing an awesome job, and there's probably no reason to leave any one of them out. It's a huge challenge, but one I'm looking forward to."
The All Blacks are well served in the outside back department with Julian Savea in a class of his own on the left wing. Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Cory Jane and Israel Dagg are also all embedded in the current squad.
Gear's presence, however, can only be positive and add to the healthy competition already on offer.
He tweeted last night: "Looking forward to being apart of Chiefs' Rugby mana 2015".
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