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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has stepped into the Liam Squire injury confusion declaring the power-packed loose forward is available for the series against France in June.
Long injury lists are commonplace in modern rugby but the All Blacks have been hit hard in the loose forwards, with Jerome Kaino retired and captain Kieran Read missing as he recovers from back surgery.
And if Brad Shields was an option — he reportedly turned down a call-up last year — the Hurricanes loosie has opted to declare his test allegiance to England.
Squire shapes as the likely long-term replacement for Kaino, but might also be the best No. 8 cover for Read.
Hansen told NZME that Highlander Squire, who broke his thumb against the Crusaders in March, will be available for the French series which includes tests in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
Hansen said the resetting of the thumb happened two weeks ago and that Squire should be ready about a week before the first test.