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Ex-All Blacks star announces shock retirement due to injury

By Alex McLeod

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Former All Blacks star Liam Squire has announced his shock retirement from professional rugby due to a long-standing knee injury.

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Squire will step away from rugby with immediate effect after being advised to do so by medical professionals as a result of a persistent knee injury.

“This isn’t the post I thought I would be doing so soon but as some of you are aware I have been battling with a knee injury which I’ve had surgery on,” he wrote on Instagram.

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“After 6-7 months full rest to see if it will heal and speaking to my surgeon and medial team I have been advised for my best long term interest to retire from all rugby immediately.

“As disappointing and frustrating as This (sic) is, my long term wellbeing has to come first.”

Squire’s announcement comes midway through his two-year deal with the Highlanders after rejoining the Dunedin-based Super Rugby franchise this year following a season-long spell with the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Prior to his departure from the Highlanders at the end of the 2019 season, Squire had struggled with a hip injury that limited his output in Super Rugby.

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As he exclusively told RugbyPass earlier this year, his injury problems, compounded by the public scrutiny of being an All Black and a professional rugby player in New Zealand, impacted his mental health.

Those factors contributed in his decision to step away from the All Blacks squad and voluntarily miss out on the 2019 World Cup before relocating to Japan.

During his time abroad, Squire picked up a knee injury, which continued to plague him even upon his return to New Zealand last year prior to his arrival back at the Highlanders.

The global Covid-19 lockdown allowed the 30-year-old to rehabilitate and properly address his knee and hip problems, but he was again struck down by a knee injury after just two appearances in this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.

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Despite harbouring an ambition to return to the All Blacks, Squire never took to the field for the Highlanders again, but the explosive loose forward paid tribute to both teams, as well as the Tasman Mako, for the influence they have had on his career.

“I want to thank everyone that has supported me throughout the years especially the @highlandersteam and @tasmanmako for the chance to wear their jerseys,” he wrote.

“These are two teams I hold close to my heart and I’ve always loved going to battle with them. Also the chance to represent my country and wear the @allblacks jersey is something I will forever cherish.

“Thank you to my family and friends for your unconditional support through the good and bad. I couldn’t have achieved what I have without you all. Also the coaches ,management staff and fans I have met through this journey thank you!

“I am excited for the next chapter in my life and stepping away from rugby. Thank you.”

After debuting for the All Blacks against Wales in Dunedin in 2016, Squire accrued 23 test caps in an international career that came to an end against Ireland in Dublin two years later.

He also made 35 appearances for the Highlanders between 2016 and 2021, 13 appearances for the Chiefs in 2015, three appearances for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in 2020, and one appearance for the Maori All Blacks in 2013.

At provincial level, Squire played 47 times for Tasman between 2011 and 2019 and won a national title with the Mako two years ago.

Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:

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Ex-All Blacks star announces shock retirement due to injury

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