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Hore 'keen' to lead Highlanders

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Sportal.co.nz     08 Mar 2013     Getty Images

Hore, 34, a 72-test veteran, has not played a competitive game since serving a five-game ban for foul play against Wales in Cardiff in November last year.

"I'm as keen as," he said yesterday. "I'm pretty excited about getting out there and getting going again.

"It's going to be awesome. I've been sitting on my hands waiting to get out there. It's hard to be a leader if you're not out there on the field.

"I'm very proud of the region. I'm grateful for the people of the Maniototo for hosting us last week (the Hore family farms on the Maniototo) and now I have a chance to get out there and try to repay them.

"It's always pretty tough when you lose and you've got to wait around for two weeks before you get a chance to right the wrongs," Hore said of the loss to the Chiefs.

Hore said he was not a great watcher of rugby.

"It's so frustrating to be on the sideline. You can pass on a few tips but that's just about all you can do. I'd just about rather watch cricket if I have to watch something."

Hore said he had been impressed at the standard of play in the opening rounds of Super rugby.

"The Blues and Chiefs have been in particularly good form so hopefully the rain stays away in Invercargill and we can play some good footy."

Hore said he had noted carefully some of the deficiencies in the Highlanders' first round loss to the Chiefs in Dunedin.

"We need to improve on our set piece, both in scrums and lineouts, and to hold on to the ball better.

"The scrum didn't really fire against the Chiefs and some of the combinations seemed a bit rusty in other phases.

"We threw the ball into nine lineouts and got it back twice and, if you don't win your own lineout ball, you're always going to be on the back foot.

"The problems just sort of snowballed and we've got to get it right to give ourselves some confidence.

"I just want to get out there, do my core job well and lead from the front."

Hore described himself as a leader by example but said he tried to do his homework on opposition teams and players.

"I try to get a feel for what is happening. I guess I might appear relaxed but underneath I'm pretty fired up - but not too fired up, I hope," he added with a grin.

Hore will mark opposition captain Adriaan Strauss, who he described as an outstanding forward.

"He loves to get his hands on the ball, he's a big guy with a lot of experience and he's sort of the guts of their team. He's certainly a formidable opponent in my first game back."

Hore's partner recently gave birth to their first child, son Tyrrell, and Hore said all three were adjusting well.

"Mum and baby are back on the farm on the farm in the Maniototo and I'm down here working," he said with a laugh.

"I'm sleeping well but I'm not sure they are. It's pretty cool though!"

Hore was hopeful former All Black Brad Thorn, who missed the first game because of calf tightness, should be fit for selection.

"Hopefully, we've spent a lot of money getting him here," he quipped.

"Seriously, he's been gold around the younger players and us old guys as well."

The Highlanders have won all seven previous games against the Cheetahs, who were beaten 45-3 by the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend.

Hore will return to the scene of his first-class debut, for Otago against Southland in 1998, when he leads the team on to Rugby Park on Saturday night.