Hore willing to accept leadership
All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore is happy to pick up the Highlanders' captaincy next season - if that's what the team needs.
Southland's Jamie Mackintosh has captained the team for the past two years after assuming the mantle from Jimmy Cowan, but his role next season is uncertain after the announcement All Blacks loosehead Tony Woodcock will shift to Dunedin in 2013.
With Mackintosh likely to see more of the bench than he has at any time during his career, coach Jamie Joseph is likely to look at other captaincy options.
Hore, who made an appearance off the bench in Taranaki's 49-40 Ranfurly Shield win over Tasman, was the skipper at the Hurricanes before leaving the franchise after a fallout with coach Mark Hammett.
He captained the All Blacks to a 79-15 win over Canada in their final pool game of last year's World Cup when Richie McCaw was injured.
"If it comes up I'd do it for the team but I know there are some young fellas as well - Tamati Ellison has been a pretty good leader too," Hore said in the buildup to tomorrow's Rugby Championship test against the Springboks in Dunedin. "It just depends how we are going to do and how much time we are getting on the pitch."
Hore said he had enjoyed his time under Mackintosh, describing him as a "great" captain.
Ellison captained the New Zealand Juniors before leaving to play in Japan and was also New Zealand Maori co- captain, with Liam Messam.
Hore, a Maniototo farmer when he's not playing rugby, will start against the Boks in his city of birth, one of four changes to the starting XV from the team that beat Argentina in Wellington last weekend - the most significant of which was the dropping of halfback Aaron Smith.
Hore said he had already signed Woodcock up as the latest All Blacks addition to his Maniototo Maggots club team, joining the likes of Ellison and Hosea Gear.
Hore had talked to his fellow front rower about the environment at the Highlanders and was excited about his arrival. "It's good for the region and hopefully he and [Mackintosh] can get on and we'll have a reasonable sort of front row . . ."
Hore was looking forward to the chance to start another test where he went to school and started his rugby career.
"That's what we are all here for. Kevvie's [Keven Mealamu] been playing pretty well and hopefully I get out there and do the same job." Fairfax NZ
Taranaki Daily News