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Hosea shifts Gear to Super duty

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Jun 2012     Getty Images

Gear capped an impressive display against Ireland last weekend with a barnstorming try in his first Test appearance since South Africa in Port Elizabeth last year.

"It was great," Gear said of his return to the black jersey. "Now it's about quickly turning around and getting back into Highlanders mode."

Gear made a strong case to be retained in the All Blacks and said he was fairly satisfied with his form and workrate.

"There are always little things you want to try and do better. There are always things you want to improve if you are to better yourself as a player."

Gear will make his 15th consecutive start of the season for the Highlanders against the table-topping Chiefs.

"I'm quite happy with how I've been going," he said. "I've had a good run, without injury. I'm loving it down here and enjoying my footy so that helps, too."

Gear said this week had been about getting back into routine and refining moves and tactics the Highlanders had worked on before the recess.

"It's all about clarity and getting our roles and execution right," he said. "It's just a matter of refreshing moves and making sure everyone is clear on what we are trying to achieve."

Gear said it was a cliche but a truism that every game now for the Highlanders was a final.

"That's how we are looking at Friday night's game. The Chiefs will be wanting to avenge the loss they had against us at the start of the season. They'll be wanting to keep their record intact and their momentum going going into the finals."

The Highlanders were beaten 51-18 by the Crusaders in Christchurch - their only big loss this season - in the last game before the recess.

"The only positive from that was that it gave us plenty to work on," Gear said. "It was a really good learning experience. We had played seven games on the trot and we weren't quite there on the night."

Gear's All Black team-mate, Ben Smith, has not trained this week because of a haemotoma on his thigh while flanker Adam Thomson has had a light workload after taking a physical hammering in the second test against Ireland.

Loose forward James Haskell has returned to Dunedin after playing in England's third test 14-all draw against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.