WELLINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) - New Zealand loose forward Liam Squire’s comeback from injury has been delayed for another few weeks as the All Black deals with “personal issues” that have ruled him out of the Otago Highlanders’ South Africa tour.
The blindside flanker was selected for the Highlanders’ home match against Argentina’s Jaguares on Saturday but was a late withdrawal from the match-day lineup.
Battling hip and knee problems, Squire has not played a competitive game since facing Ireland for the All Blacks in November.
Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger told local media that Squire would stay at home to deal with “personal, family issues” after the 32-27 win over the Jaguares.
“It’s important that our boys are in the space to play the games and at the moment Liam’s got to attend to a few things that he needs to deal to,” he said.
Fellow All Black Jackson Hemopo, who sustained a knee injury last week, has also been ruled out of the South Africa games against the Lions and the Stormers.
All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo, who also suffered a knee injury a month ago, has been cleared to tour in better news.
Having lost co-captain and inspirational All Blacks fullback Ben Smith for the rest of the Super Rugby regular season, the Highlanders did well to hold off the in-form Jaguares at Forsyth Barr Stadium and keep in touch with the playoffs positions.
“It would have been nice to do it a bit more convincingly and taken an extra (bonus) point,” Mauger said.
“I think we put ourselves in that position.
“There’s still some things we need to polish up and make sure we’re better with.” (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)