Landers boss Roger Clarke has told the media that the exodus is nothing more than unfortunate timing and not because of their horror 2013 season.
“I think the fact that it’s all happened at the same time is probably a little bit unfortunate, But I think one of the things after you have a year like we’ve just had is that you’ve got to make changes. Part of that change we’ve identified is that we need a lot of youth.” he told Newstalk ZB.
in discussing All Black legend Andrew Hore’s departure, Clarke confirmed that they had a promising succession plan in the form of young eager hookers Liam Coltman and Brayden Mitchell.
“They were always part of a succession plan and that’s been judged by the coaches as time to implement that succession plan next year. The guys have been with us for three years and watching ITM Cup they’re starting to come to the fore.”
Highlanders leaving: Andrew Hore (set to retire), Tony Woodcock (reportedly heading back to the Blues), Ma’a Nonu (unwanted in New Zealand), Tamati Ellison (signed with the Rebels for 2014), Hosea Gear (signed with French club Toulouse), Jamie Mackintosh (joined the Chiefs for 2014) and Kade Poki (signed for Japanese club Kubota Spears).