The odds are shortening on Liam Squire's dramatic inclusion to the All Blacks World Cup squad after the loose forward informed the coaches that he is keen to attend the tournament in Japan.
According to Stuff, Squire, who had ruled himself out of consideration for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup this year, has given head coach Steve Hansen the green light to pick him.
Now the onus will be on Hansen to select Squire in his 31- player squad. If he does so, another big decision will be who to leave out, with Jackson Hemopo perhaps the most vulnerable given his similarity to his Highlanders teammate.
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Squire's form last year was badly affected by injury, and this year he ruled himself out of the Highlanders' trip to South Africa due to what were described as personal reasons.
But he has played well for Tasman in this season's Mitre 10 Cup and would provide a valuable alternative to Ardie Savea on the blindside flank or skipper Kieran Read at No8.
Hansen never closed the door on a return for Squire, 28, despite his unvailability and fact the player is leaving to play for a Japanese club next year.
Hansen will presumably take at face value Squire's assurance that he is capable of spending up to eight weeks at a high-pressure tournament in Japan. Now the ball is back in the head coach's court.
The squad will be announced at midday on Wednesday.