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Highlanders hit with significant injury blow as Liam Squire set for sideline spell

By Alex McLeod

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The Highlanders have been hit with an injury blow as Liam Squire has been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

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The 30-year-old missed his side’s last two matches against the Blues and Hurricanes, with head coach Tony Brown saying at the time that the franchise was managing his return to action after a year-long spell without action following hip and knee injuries.

However, Squire’s recurring knee injury has resurfaced, leaving the Highlanders without their star recruit for the remainder of the Kiwi domestic competition.

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The 23-test All Black, who returned to the franchise this year after leaving for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes following the 2019 season, will now spend time rehabilitating his knee.

The injury blow is cruel given Squire spoke of his desire to regain his place in the All Blacks squad, but those hopes have been dashed for this year, at least, as his 2021 campaign has been cut short to just two outings.

“It’s tough for Liam, he has worked hard to get back in shape to have a big season but his knee has flared up again which means we have to give him time now to rest it and try and get it right,” Brown said in a statement.

No time frame has been given of when Squire will next be available for action, nor has there been any confirmation of an injury call-up, although the Highlanders are well-stocked in the loose forward department.

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Highlanders assistant coach Clarke Dermody said on Monday that Japan star Kazuki Himeno, who impressed off the bench in his side’s loss to the Hurricanes, was “100 percent” in contention to start against the Crusaders this weekend.

Squire becomes the latest of numerous injury concerns for the Highlanders this season, as the franchise are already without midfielder Fetuli Paea and prop Jermaine Ainsley for the season with high ankle sprains.

Squire’s former All Blacks teammate Nehe Milner-Skudder is also facing complications with his comeback from a persistent shoulder injury, while new recruit Solomon Alaimalo is still working his way back after a long sideline stint last year.

The Highlanders currently sit at the bottom of the Super Rugby Aotearoa standings with one win from four matches.

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Highlanders hit with significant injury blow as Liam Squire set for sideline spell

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