Gear picking good things for 2014 Highlanders
He won't be around to see it, but Hosea Gear believes the Highlanders will be a better outfit next season.
The Toulouse-bound former All Blacks winger will play his 100th game of Super Rugby against the Crusaders in Dunedin tomorrow night and thinks the southern franchise will reap some benefits from a tough 2013 campaign which has included just two wins from 13 starts.
"I feel the guys deserve a lot more than they've had this season, but in saying that you've got to learn from the negatives," Gear said.
"If we can keep the core group of the guys that are here, going through this season will only be beneficial for those guys next year. It's not an ideal situation that you want to be in again."
It certainly isn't, and it's one Gear will be reviewing from afar after signing a two-year deal with glamourous French club Stade Toulousain, otherwise known as Toulouse, where he will link up with fellow Kiwi Luke McAlister.
Gear believes he's still got plenty of rugby left in his 29-year-old legs, and some room for improvement.
"We are in the middle of planning for France and organising the family, but it's something we are looking forward to. It will be interesting to experience the lifestyle, but in saying that I've still got a job to do here," Gear said.
"I think I'm still trying to grow my game and be a better player so if there's something I can learn over there, that's what I'm going to be doing. It's going to be interesting playing a different style of rugby and getting used to things on that side of the world."
The Highlanders will be trying to recapture the form which saw them down the Blues in Dunedin before the June test window.
Gear spent a 10-day break looking after children while his partner concentrated on her studies, and believes the Highlanders will be refreshed by the break.
"We've reviewed the Blues game and what went well there and we obviously want to carry that on. At the same time we are bearing in mind the threats the Crusaders bring."
It's been a light week for the Highlanders, with their All Black contingent returning to training on Tuesday and the team having a day off on Wednesday.
"It's been a low key week and I think we want to keep things as simple as we can, try to build a bit of hunger back in the boys. Obviously at this stage of the season we don't have too much to play for, so it's about trying to build guys' confidence and their energy to play."
The Southland Times