6 May 2017

All Black loosie stocks thinning by the minute

10:19 am on 6 May 2017

Another All Black loose forward is in doubt for the upcoming British and Irish Lions Tour.

Liam Squire playing for the All Blacks.

Liam Squire playing for the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Highlanders blindside Liam Squire broke his thumb in this morning's thrilling 45-41 win over the Stormers in Blomfontein, and won't return to action for at least six weeks, just a week before the All Blacks opening test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on June 24.

The Highlanders head coach Tony Brown confirmed the injury after the win and says Squire will will leave the team in South Africa to head back to New Zealand.

All Black captain Kieran Read and fellow veteran loosie Jerome Kaino are also in doubt for the first test, no doubt leaving the selectors a little nervous.

Squire and the Hurricanes Ardie Savea were the players earmarked to replace Read and Kaino should the latter pair not recover in time for the Lions tour.

Squire's injury comes less than a week after Read also busted his thumb against the Cheetahs in Blomfontein.

The All Blacks captain has had surgery and is back in New Zealand recovering.

Read was also ruled out for about six-weeks, putting him in line to return two weeks before the opening Lions test.

Squire is facing an even tougher race against time, though with broken thumbs both players will be able to maintain their conditioning.

Kaino though is recovering from knee surgery and may struggle to return to match fitness in time for the first Lions test at Eden Park.