HMNZS Hore ready for the battle of the Bismarck
James Mortimer 06 Oct 2013 Getty Images
However there would be one player who probably have listened to the hype but would have dispelled it with a huff of lungs that have been built by the unique cardio routine built by a long career in farming and rugby.
Hore is cut from a cloth quite different even to his fellow All Blacks.
Tony Woodcock and his front row partner are chums, but one can’t imagine many of their squad members cheerfully accepting an invitation to ride up into the farm and shift stock, hammer in some fence posts, shear a dozen sheep or milk hundreds of cows.
But Hore has risen to become the third most capped hooker for New Zealand and a loyal servant that has never taken a backward step.
Indeed, the description applied to Bismarck could be given to Hore, and while du Plessis might be more obvious with his defence – the Dunedin born number two has a nose for the try line that has set him apart from his rivals.
Pinpoint accuracy off the lineout is crucial in contests like these, while the now required ability to maintain belligerent stability in the scrum while ‘raking’ the ball is something that only granite hookers can achieve.
Hore may be cut from a different cloth, but du Plessis is a prototype that has allowed him to make a mark on some matches with all the laissez-faire of a world class operator.
The go forward of the mighty Bismarck won’t strive so easily forward against the grizzled stance Hore will present, and the fact that the 80-Test rake has been chosen ahead of the still learning Dane Coles is not insult to the younger forward.
Coles has shown an approach that has revealed again he isn’t lost among the ferocity of Test combat, but taking on a Springboks pack that has shown considerable power needs to be countered with some old school that Hore brings.
The starting two is not alone up front with All Blacks who will happily stand up to the South African assault, but it will be Hore who will look to counter a Springboks hooker who will likely receive poster boy status in front of a full Ellis Park crowd.
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