Hosea Gear returns to New Zealand rugby

Wellington: Former All Blacks wing Hosea Gear announced Monday he was returning to Super 15 rugby with the Waikato Chiefs, making him eligible to join New Zealand`s World Cup defence in England next year.

Gear, 30, signed with French club Toulouse last year, and after finishing the season there moved to Japanese side Honda.

The Chiefs said he will join the Hamilton-based team in February 2015 after completing his commitments with Honda.

Coach Dave Rennie said he was looking forward to working with the player, who will team up with returning superstar Sonny Bill Williams in a formidable backline for the Chiefs next year.

"Hosea ticks all the boxes. He`s a good man, very professional and experienced," said Rennie, whose side finished a disappointing fifth this year after back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

"He`s a hell of a player, powerful, quick and a quality finisher."

New Zealand has a policy of only selecting locally based players for the All Blacks, so Gear`s return opens the door for him to add to the 14 Test caps he earned between 2008 and 2012.

Gear made no secret of his ambition to regain a black jersey after scoring two tries for the Barbarians against England in June.

"I am heading home to play Super Rugby to give myself the opportunity to make the All Blacks for the World Cup," he said at the time.

However, he faces a huge challenge breaking into an All Blacks squad boasting the likes of Julian Savea, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Ben Smith and Williams as options on the wing.