Squire back on the playing field

All Black loose forward Liam Squire tackles Alhambra-Union loose forward Utu Tapueluelu at the...
All Black loose forward Liam Squire tackles Alhambra-Union loose forward Utu Tapueluelu at the North Ground on Saturday.PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
All Black and Highlanders loose forward Liam Squire has made a welcome return to rugby - although Alhambra-Union fans might not see it that way.

The 28-year-old has not played at all this season until Saturday. He had been sidelined with a hip complaint and then a knee injury.

Then he missed the Highlanders' trip to South Africa due to personal reasons.

But the robust loosie turned out for Taieri in a Dunedin premier club match on Saturday.

He came on in the second half. Taieri was in a tough battle with Alhambra-Union. and the scores were locked 14-14 at the break.

Squire made some big tackles and the odd carry. Then with the game in the balance, Squire came up with a crucial turnover in the final moment of the game.

He got himself over the ruck and won a penalty.

Taieri promptly kicked the ball into touch.

The referee sounded the whistle and Squire got to celebrate a tense 27-24 win in his first game of rugby since November.

Squire has played 23 tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2016.

He does not have much time left to make an impression before the All Black squad is announced.

But his physicality has proven to be a real asset at international level. No-one has put a compelling case forward in the blindside ranks all season, so the ball is in Squire's court.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has shown a tendency to pick players who have a good track record despite not having a lot of recent rugby under the the belt.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said from South Africa yesterday it was good that Squire got out and played, reconnecting with rugby and the community.

Squire would be available for the Highlanders in their next match against the Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 7. 

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