Shock as Squire to leave NZ and chase the money in Japan
Cape Town - All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire will join the post-Rugby World Cup gold rush and chase the big money in Japan.
According to the Stuff website, Squire has signed a deal with a club - yet to be made public - and will snip his ties with the game in New Zealand after the World Cup in Japan later this year.
Although NZ Rugby will be disappointed to lose a player who will be only 28 when he leaves, it will not be blindsided by his move as it's understood Squire and his management have kept the organisation informed of their plans to negotiate with the Japanese club.
Squire is one of a raft of All Blacks back-rowers who are leaving, or considering an exit from New Zealand after the World Cup.
Crusaders blindside flank/No 8 Jordan Taufua, who was selected in the squad to play France last winter but unable to play because of injury, announced last weekend that he will join English premiership club Leicester Tigers at the end of the year.
All Blacks captain and No 8 Kieran Read has already declared he will probably retire from Tests after the World Cup, and is tipped to sign for a Japanese club.
Openside flank Matt Todd, who has played 17 Tests, is off contract at the end of the season and after representing the Robbie Deans-coached Panasonic Wild Knights last year, may be tempted to return for a longer stint in Japan.
Another back-rower, Luke Whitelock, who has seven Test caps and led the All Blacks in the Test against Japan in Tokyo in early November, could also be considering a move offshore.
Whitelock, who started all three Tests against France in June while Read was covering from surgery on his spine, slipped down the pecking order later in the season and was not included in the main squad to tour the northern hemisphere.
Older brother Sam and his second row partner in Tests, Brodie Retallick, are also considering sabbaticals with Japanese clubs in 2020.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett has been linked with a similar deal, which would allow him to skip Super Rugby and some All Blacks fixtures before returning to New Zealand.