All Blacks suffer another injury blow as Liam Squire breaks his thumb
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 06/05/17 8:32am
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen's plans for the British and Irish Lions tour suffered another blow after Otago Highlanders flanker Liam Squire was ruled out for up to six weeks with a broken thumb.
With Kieran Read (thumb) and Jerome Kaino (knee) already on the sidelines in the build-up to the tour - which starts on June 3 before the first of three Tests on June 24 - Squire was in a strong position for an All Blacks starting berth.
Squire only lasted 10 minutes of Friday's Super Rugby match between the Otago Highlanders and the Central Cheetahs in Bloemfontein before he was injured.
He struggled on for another 10 minutes before leaving the field and he now faces a race to be fit in time to play some part in the tour.
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"It is broken and he's on the plane home. He's probably looking at six weeks out for a broken thumb," coach Tony Brown told reporters after the Highlanders came from behind to win 45-41.
"With Kieran Read out, Liam was probably next cab off the rank [for the All Blacks]. Hopefully, both Kieran and Jerome Kaino can get back in time for the Lions."
Read broke his thumb the previous week playing for the Canterbury Crusaders against the Cheetahs, while Kaino recently underwent knee surgery.
First-choice hooker Dane Coles is also an injury concern as her struggles to overcome both a troublesome calf and lingering concussion symptoms.