Squire expected to return to Highlanders

Former Highlanders and All Black loose forward Liam Squire looks set to make a comeback for the southern franchise.

Squire (29) is believed to be signed to the Highlanders for next season and will be named in the squad when it is released tomorrow morning.

The rugged loose forward left the franchise after the 2019 season having played 33 games for the Highlanders in four seasons. He only played three games for the Highlanders in 2019 season because of injuries and then making himself unavailable.

He left for Japan at the end of 2019, but injury again got involved and he has finished his two-year contract early with NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes.

He is believed to be back in the south and looking forward to getting back on the field after a prolonged rest to fix some injuries.

The Highlanders side for the 2021 season is likely to have just under a dozen newcomers, with many of them already named.

Former Otago Boys’ High School prop Jermaine Ainsley will join, along with flanker Billy Harmon, loose forward Kazuki Himeno, centre Fetuli Paea and winger Solomon Alaimalo.

The Highlanders will be looking to move on a few players. Prop Josh Iosefa-Scott was signed for two years after impressing for Waikato in 2018. But he has played one game in two seasons and is unlikely to be back.

Other forwards likely to be on the outer are loose forwards Zane Kapeli and Sione Misiloi, neither player taking the field last year.

Lock Jack Whetton signed for the Waratahs last week while Jesse Parete is playing for Canon in Japan. Dillon Hunt is moving home and has signed with the Blues.

Bryn Gatland is believed to be heading for the Chiefs while Rob Thompson is signed with Toyota Verblitz in Japan. Tei Walden ruptured his Achilles when playing for Taranaki against Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup, but was not set to return anyway.

Counties-Manukau wingers Tevita Nabura and Kirisi Kuridrani are unlikely to be back and whether Connor Garden-Bachop will return is up in the air. He missed all of this year’s season because of a back injury and was well down the pecking order for Wellington.

Josh McKay is also believed to not be wanted by the Highlanders and will be looking for a contract elsewhere.

Former All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder signed a two year deal with the Highlanders during the lockdown period, but did not play any matches in Super Rugby Aotearoa as he was not match fit.

He played a full part for Manawatu, including captaining the side in the provincial competition, but was well below the form which elevated him into the All Blacks in 2015.


Good to see the back of Karate Kid, Tevita Nabura. That guy was serious dead wood. One of many bum signings by Aaron Mauger - Zane Kapeli etc...

Good news Squire is back. Hopefully Ash Dixon is too. It d be interesting to see the Stags Scott Eade in a Highlanders shirt. Great kicking game

Mate, of course Ash will be back! He loves the Landers and Dunners is his second home outside of Napier. The big question.... Will we get back Pleasants-Tate after an absence of one or two seasons? He had a more-than-solid season with the Stags


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