Andrew Hore heads for farm, and the Maggots
TOBY ROBSON AND RICHARD KNOWLER
Andrew Hore's future now lies in farming and playing for the Maniototo Maggots.
Having finally confirmed his All Blacks days are over, Hore, 35, can now put all his energy into the massive spread near Ranfurly.
Barring an injury crisis there appears little chance of the 82-test hooker, who began his test career against England in late 2002, returning to the professional arm of the code.
"I don't think I'll be playing in the All Black jersey again," Hore told media upon his arrival in New Zealand yesterday.
"I've had a good run - hopefully I can get home and make a good fist of my next job which is going to be a farmer. If I do that as well as I've played rugby then I shouldn't be going too bad."
Hore's attire immediately at Auckland airport signalled his days as a New Zealand Rugby Union employee were numbered.
Unlike his All Blacks team-mates, who were wearing their official clobber, he walked off the airplane in jandals and a T-shirt advertising a Central Otago pub.
His career hasn't been without controversy but no-one can dispute the fact he added a rod of steel and experience to the All Blacks pack.
His rap sheet included a five-week suspension for punching Welsh lock Bradley Davies last year, being kicked out of the Hurricanes by coach Mark Hammett after the 2011 season and shooting a fur seal in 2005.
Hore is no fan of media who remind him of the seal incident but they have also celebrated his achievements in New Zealand rugby.
"You have your ups and downs and you've just got to flow with them. But I think 10 years in the All Blacks makes you a better person by the time you come out the other end.
"I've obviously had a few times ... in the media and that but mostly it hasn't been too bad. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy life now."
Coach Steve Hansen has said Hore could represent the All Blacks again but that only appears likely in an injury crisis.
"I'll just go home and get the farming and that sorted out, and play a bit of rugby for Maniototo and see what happens," Hore reflected.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, who controversially dumped Hore after the 2011 season, said he held his fellow hooker in high regard.
"We know I had to make some hard calls with Horey, but ... as a player I always had a lot of time for him. In 2008 he was simply world class.
"One of the things I always admired with Horey was he would just front week in week out. It was that Central Otago boy thing. What he could do to his body other people couldn't."
Hore would be remembered fondly for his on-field banter, but Hammett said his strength was his greatest asset.
"He was always the guy who would get one or two crucial turnovers. He was immensely strong over the ball and could all of a sudden steal the ball out of a maul.
"He was never overly powerful in the gym, but in terms of functional strength he was just incredible."
Taranaki coach Colin Cooper, who installed Hore as captain at the Hurricanes recalled he was "very popular" among the playing group.
It was a shame he hadn't seen out his career at the Hurricanes, Cooper said.
"Andrew is not only a great player but he is also a great leader."
Hore joined the Highlanders for the 2012 and 2013 seasons but was not re-signed by coach Jamie Joseph for next year.
- Fairfax Media
What NZ rugby job would you give Robbie Deans?Related story: (See story)