Steve Hansen: All Blacks flanker Liam Squire 'phenomenal' in win over Wallabies

All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire thrived in the job of running the ball near the touchlines in the test against the ...
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All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire thrived in the job of running the ball near the touchlines in the test against the Wallabies.

With his raggedy mullet, tattoos and ability to sprint at tacklers like an unshackled box car, Liam Squire could be a candidate to play for a knockabout rugby league team in Sydney's west.

Although that doesn't seem too likely in the near, or distant, future.

Blindside flanker Squire is here to stay in the 15-man code, and he undoubtedly put together his best performance for the All Blacks in the 54-34 win over the Wallabies on Saturday night, doing enough in his 10th test to suggest he deserves another shot at starting in the back row alongside Kieran Read and Sam Cane for Bledisloe II in Dunedin next weekend.

MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED/REUTERS MARK NOLAN/GETTY IMAGES PAUL SEISER/PHOTOSPORT JASON REED/REUTERS BRETT HEMMINGS/GETTY IMAGES MARK NOLAN/GETTY IMAGES MARK NOLAN/GETTY IMAGES MARK KOLBE/GETTY IMAGES GETTY IMAGES MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES PAUL SEISER/PHOTOSPORT DAVID NEILSON/PHOTOSPORT MARK KOLBE/GETTY IMAGES MARK KOLBE/GETTY IMAGES MARK NOLAN/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED/REUTERS BRETT HEMMINGS/GETTY IMAGES BRETT HEMMINGS/GETTY IMAGES

All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty celebrates a try with his team-mates.

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane stretches to score a try.

Aaron Smith and Ryan Crotty celebrate an All Blacks try.

Sam Whitelock passes the ball to Liam Squire.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper shows his frustration as the All Blacks run riot in the first half.

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith bounced back from a turbulent week with a strong performance.

Sonny Bill Williams looks to find an All Blacks team-mate.

Wallabies second five-eighth Kurtley Beale is tackled by All Blacks captain Kieran Read.

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane scores in the corner in the first half.

All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire struggles to break through tackles.

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane crosses the tryline.

Ryan Crotty dives over to score for the All Blacks.

Ryan Crotty makes a break.

Sonny Bill Williams gets into open space.

Ryan Crotty touches down for an All Blacks try.

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith is tackled.

Ben Smith puts the ball down to score a try for the All Blacks.

Samu Kerevi of Australia is tackled.

Ben Smith celebrates his try with All Blacks team-mate Sonny Bill Williams.

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"He played well, he rewarded the team and himself for us working hard with him over the last 18 months," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said. "He is a pretty phenomenal rugby player when he gets it right, and tonight he got it right. It was lovely to watch."

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It was a fair assessment, one that Squire would have been pleased to hear from his boss.

Squire, who broke his thumb while in action for the Highlanders this year and never played in the three-test series against the British and Irish Lions, is a big unit and seems to be the sort of player who needs time on the track to get into top form.

While Squire didn't get close to putting up the sort of defensive numbers that loose forward counterparts Read and Cane posted, they made 15 and 21 tackles respectively compared to the eight made by Squire, he excelled with the ball in hand.

"As a six, it is the sort of the role you play for the All Blacks (by staying out wide) and it pretty similar to the Highlanders as well, so it suits me," he confirmed.

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"Whatever they want, I will just get it done."

The tactic of keeping Squire near the touch line meant he added power and speed down the wide channels, and on attack he gained 104m - second only behind left wing Rieko Ioane (129). Collectively, Read and Cane made 32 metres with the ball, a statistic that reflects the need for them to work much closer to the rucks.

"To finally get out and put a few games under my belt is good for me," Squire added.

"In the first half we put together quite a good performance and when you are going forward like that it makes it a hell of a lot easier when you are playing out on the wing. It is quite enjoyable, actually."

Squire also claimed the first of the All Blacks' eight tries, galloping down the left-hand fringe to keep clear of the defenders in green and gold. It was a spectacular movement, starting with a quick thrown-in and involving dainty footwork by Damian McKenzie and an excellent pass by Kieran Read under pressure.

"I was a bit surprised about the space in front of me," Squire said. "I didn't know if I was going to get there but I was lucky enough to score. It wasn't easy, I had to put of work in to get there and was lucky the guys inside me were doing their job."

 - Stuff

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