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Squire out for six weeks with injury

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/05/2017

Liam Squire has joined the list of injured All Blacks forwards, breaking his thumb during the Highlanders' comeback win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Squire left the field in the 20th minute of the Highlanders' 45-41 victory, not long after having his right hand heavily strapped.

Highlanders coach Tony Brown confirmed to journalists the 26-year-old was looking at six weeks on the sideline, seven weeks out from the first Lions Test.

"It is broken and he's on the plane home," he said.

The setback comes a week after All Blacks skipper Kieran Read suffered the same injury against the same opponents. Read was also given an estimated six-week recovery period.

Veteran flanker Jerome Kaino also underwent surgery last week, for a knee injury.

Squire was widely touted as the likely replacement for both Read and Kaino, leaving uncertainty around the makeup of the New Zealand pack for the opening Test against the Lions in Auckland on June 24.

"With Kieran Read out, Liam was probably next cab off the rank. Hopefully, both Kieran and Jerome Kaino can back get in time for the Lions," Brown said.

Squire's absence will be a huge blow for the Highlanders, who have had their loose forward depth tested all year.

Shane Christie (illness) and Dan Pryor (knee) are yet to play, James Lentjes (elbow) is probably out for the season while All Blacks Elliot Dixon and Luke Whitelock have had various ailments.

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