8 Jun 2011

Hurricanes drop key players Nonu and Hore

10:06 pm on 8 June 2011

The Hurricanes will be without two of their most experienced players next season after management decided not to renew their contracts.

Coach Mark Hammett says All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore are not part of his future plans for the Wellington-based team but is refusing to make any further comment.

Hammett says there are a number of reasons for the decision, but cost is not one. He accepts the timing of the announcement is not ideal with two more games to play this season.

"There's a number of things I've got to consider. I want Ma'a to be able to have his last game out on Westpac (Stadium) - that's really important.

"These guys also have to have the opportunity to look ahead as well, in terms of what they're doing for their futures."

Nonu and Hore say they are very disappointed as they wanted another year with the Hurricanes and now hope to be picked up by another franchise.

Reports have surfaced that Nonu's on-field ill-discipline has brought about Hammett's decision, while 32-year-old hooker Hore has been getting reduced game time this season.

Nonu, a second five-eighth, said on Wednesday he will miss the team.

"I had nothing to do with the matter, but I guess that's the way it goes. It's a shame, but you move on.

"I've had some loyal fans over the years and have obviously spent a fair amount of my life in this team. I've met a lot of great guys, made a lot of friends and I'm grateful for that."

He would not be drawn on where he might play next year, but has been linked with the Chiefs and a French side.

Hore says he would have liked to have been able to make his own decision about his future, but is mature enough and at a stage in his career where he won't let this setback get him down.

Both players have been named in the Hurricanes side to play the Chiefs this weekend in Hamilton.

'Fatal blow' for franchise

Former All Black and Hurricanes hooker Norm Hewitt says Ma'a Nonu's departure will deal a mortal blow to the franchise's future.

Hewitt told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme Mark Hammett's style of coaching doesn't suit the Hurricanes environment and he is not the man to get the best out of the diverse cultural mix in the squad.

Hewitt says All Blacks Hosea Gear and Cory Jane are yet to re-sign and may also be forced out.

But Hammett refutes the claim he doesn't know anything about working with Maori and Polynesian players.

"I find that really insulting, to be quite frank. If I've got a problem with someone, I'll face them face-to-face - and that's how it should be."