'I'm nervous' admits Gear
Explosive winger confesses to uncertainty over World Cup place
Last Updated: 29/11/10 5:00pm
Hosea Gear is nervous about securing a place on the All Blacks World Cup squad despite scoring five tries in four games during the autumn Tests.
"I have been concentrating on building on each game and trying to get better. I am still a bit nervous (about a place in World Cup squad). No places are really cemented, I guess. I am just going to have to build on my form going into the Super 15."
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The explosive winger made his surprising admission following a series of sensational performances against the home nations.
Gear, the brother of former New Zealand and Worcester man Rico, caused huge problems for opposition defences during the tour with his blistering pace and deceptive strength.
And he ended the tour on a high, adding to tries against England at Twickenham and Scotland (two) with another brace against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
So impressive was the Hurricanes dangerman that he ended the tour as Graham Henry's first choice number 11, ahead of All Black's legend Joe Rokocoko.
But the 26-year-old is taking nothing for granted and claims there is still much work for him to do if he hopes to secure the chance to chase World Cup glory.
"I was just fortunate to get a bit of game time on this tour and to play better than what I did in the past," he said.
"I have been concentrating on building on each game and trying to get better. I am still a bit nervous (about a place in World Cup squad).
"No places are really cemented, I guess. I am just going to have to build on my form going into the Super 15."
Gear was handed his first cap against Australia in Hong Kong in 2008 and won a further cap against the Wallabies in Wellington last year.
But he was advised by head coach Graham Henry to go away and work on his game and has since returned a transformed player.
A hat-trick for the New Zealand Maori against England during the summer was not rewarded with a Tri Nations place.
But he was hugely impressive in helping his nation secure gold in the Rugby Sevens at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Assistant coach Wayne Smith was paid tribute to the way Gear has taken previous criticism of his game on board and come back a better player.
"He has been a real plus of the tour," admitted Smith. "He has worked hard on his game the last few years.
"He has been professional and worked on what we requested from him, and he is getting the rewards."
Another with whom Smith has been hugely impressed is centre Sonny Bill Williams, who has done his World Cup prospects no harm with a series of scintillating performances.
The former Kiwi rugby league international, who now plays for Canterbury, baffled defences with his offloading ability.
Williams, who joined from French club Toulon earlier this year in order to fulfil his dream of becoming an All Black, created a try against England on his debut and four more against Scotland.
He was less impressive against Wales, as the home side's defence pushed up to cut out his space, but he did manage to create the first try for Gear with another slick offload.
And former Northampton boss Smith was full of praise for how well the 25-year-old had fitted into the squad.
"He is a very selfless man," he said. "He is exactly what you want in a team and I think he has had a great season in the ITM Cup and had a solid tour.
"Now there is a Super 15 campaign ahead of him with some very good coaches to build on a pretty good base.
"I think he will come through the Super 15 as a top player and there will be strong competition between Ma'a Nonu and him for that number 12 jersey."