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Gear eyeing All Blacks return

Hosea Gear believes a first victory in three years over England has safeguarded the Barbarians' future - now the Toulouse wing will chase a return to All Blacks action for the 2015 World Cup.

The 30-year-old wing's two tries guided the Barbarians to 39-29 victory over a youthful England XV at Twickenham on Sunday, lifting lingering criticism from lacklustre performances last summer.

Gear will swap Toulouse for Honda Heat for one Japanese season in August, before taking up a Super Rugby contract in New Zealand in February.

The 14-cap Kiwi has admitted he will be hard-pressed to break into Steve Hansen's All Blacks squad, but was relieved to help restore the Barbarians' reputation.

"This is a unique side, a side that's very difficult to put together, considering the seasons in different countries, and just trying to field an international side," said Gear.

"One thing we spoke about as soon as we got together was that we needed to win, and that the way the public were perceiving the side was that it could have gone either way - if we'd continued to lose it's almost a waste of time having a Barbarians side.

"So for us it was really important to win.

"The team can hold its place in the modern game: we set out to try to keep the Barbarians club alive."

Benson Stanley, Juan Martin Hernandez and Mamuka Gorgodze claimed the Barbarians' other tries, while Dave Ewers, Charlie Sharples and Henry Slade replied for England.

England coach Joe Lydon confirmed just one player from Sunday's young squad will join the senior tour to New Zealand on Monday.

Jon Callard admitted it remains 50-50 between Harlequins duo Kyle Sinckler and Will Collier to join the Aviva Premiership finalists on the flight to New Zealand.

Gear believes the All Blacks will have no mercy on England in Saturday's first Test in Auckland, fielding their strongest line-up despite Stuart Lancaster's side vastly underpowered by injuries and the unavailability of the Premiership finalists.

Relishing his battle to return to All Blacks action, Gear said: "They've got some new guys just coming into the side who have been in really, really top form.

"I'm guessing they would want to come out and play really well in that first Test to get some momentum.

"England may be under-strength in that first Test, but I think New Zealand will want to get an advantage.

"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.

"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 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.

"I'm not sure which club it will be yet in Super Rugby, but hopefully I'll know by the end of July, once there's a bit more down-time for the coaches."

Lydon backed either Collier or Sinckler to shine in New Zealand if required as the fourth tighthead.

"Given the volume of players that have travelled there's one spot," said Lydon.

"Stuart has already been on the phone just to make sure everyone is alright.

"We'll have a conference call and discuss things; they have obviously seen the game.

"I'm confident they would stand up like they did today."


From Belfast Telegraph