All Blacks: Steve and Liam, a seer and a squire

7:01 am on 28 August 2019

Liam Squire can be expected to be named in the All Blacks squad. Rugby reporter Joe Porter envisions that it all came to Steve Hansen in a dream...

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen speaking to the team after the 2019 Bledisloe Cup match loss.

Steve Hansen talking to his troops. Photo: Daniel Carson

Sports Call - There are many converts to the church of Steve Hansen and the All Blacks high priest has a prophecy.

It involves a vision that came to him in the night. One of a shark holding a golden "Bill" in early November.

That "Bill" of course is the William Webb Ellis trophy, awarded to the winner of this year's World Cup.

That shark is Tasman Mako flanker Liam Squire, who has reportedly told the All Blacks selectors he's ready and willing to go to Japan.

Of course, Hansen knew this would happen. Drifting off in front of the fire at his central Otago hideaway in May, Hansen set down the glass of pinot noir (he only drinks it because of a sense of local loyalty, he prefers a cab sav/merlot blend), and let sleep take him.

He usually doesn't dream, but that night was different. He was visited by a towering apparition, wearing Highlanders kit. "Father, when I try to walk away, let me, but leave the door ajar. For as sure as the sun will rise, I will return to help you in the land of the rising sun."

Things were starting to become clear. A squire is defined as a young nobleman acting as an attendant to a knight before becoming a knight himself.

That definition has an aptness, given Liam Squire may be the rightful heir to Jerome Kaino's blindside role, but it's in the other portents.

Another name for a squire is a cup bearer. The coach didn't need any more convincing.

So Hansen wasn't surprised when Squire called to rule himself out of the Rugby Championship. He preached patience and perspective and gave Squire time.

He wasn't surprised when Squire played well for Tasman and he wasn't surprised when Squire called to put himself back into contention.

Tasman players celebrate Liam Squire.

Tasman flanker Liam Squire gets hugs from his fellow Mako. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen knew Vaea Fifita would be a late withdrawal from Wellington's team with injury, putting his World Cup chances in doubt, and he knew he could justify Jackson Hemopo's omission when he names his World Cup squad tomorrow.

So expect to hear Squire's name when the squad is read out and expect Hansen to say he expects Squire will have a significant impact on the All Blacks' chances of winning a third straight world title.

Leaving the tea leaves aside - a fit and keen Squire would be a welcome boost to an All Blacks squad, with his size, speed and physicality an ingredient the team has been missing in the blindside role.

If he has told Hansen he's ready, he's surely a shoo-in for Japan.

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