Seems 'right time to go' - Squire confirms move to Japan

Liam Squire
Liam Squire
Liam Squire is the latest All Black to confirm he is heading off to Japan at the end of the year.

After speculation arose last week about his future, Squire finally confirmed late yesterday he had signed a two-year deal with Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes, which have been promoted to the Top League next season, are coached by former Otago captain Mike Brewer.

Marty Banks is also a member of the team and former Highlander Gareth Evans played a short spell for for the team in the just completed season.

Squire, who will turn 28 next month, came to the Highlanders in 2016 after two seasons with the Chiefs.

He represented the Maori All Blacks in 2013 against Canada and, after some outstanding Super Rugby form, made his All Black debut in June 2016 coming off the bench against Wales , replacing Highlanders team-mate Elliot Dixon.

He has played 23 matches for the All Blacks and 44 Super Rugby games for the Highlanders.

All Black coach Steve Hansen said Squire had grown into an outstanding rugby player since coming into the All Blacks in 2016.

"His physicality, pace and skills are a real point of difference and he's a really well-rounded player. We wish him all the best for his Japanese adventure next year,'' Hansen said.

At 1.96m and 115kg, Squire is a real presence on the field although injury has led to periods on the sideline.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said Squire's approach inspired his team.

"He has a unique ability to swing momentum in game with his physicality. We look forward to helping Liam achieve the high standards he is capable of in his last season with us and we wish him well for the future.''

Squire is excited about the shift to Japan.

"It seems like the right time to go. I have really loved my time in New Zealand with the Tasman Mako and in particular down here with the Highlanders. It's a club that gave me a chance and I appreciate the support I have had in the South. I am certainly keen to have a really good last season with the guys.''

Squire was not named in the match-day 23 which played the Chiefs last week but is expected to come back into the Highlanders team over the next couple of weeks.

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