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Super Rugby Aotearoa: Nehe Milner-Skudder 'potentially available' for Hurricanes clash despite fresh knee injury

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

Star Highlanders recruit Nehe Milner-Skudder could be “potentially available” to play against the Hurricanes in his side’s final Super Rugby Aotearoa clash next week despite picking up a fresh knee injury.


The 29-year-old former All Black wasn’t included in the Highlanders side to face the Crusaders in Christchurch this weekend, with head coach Aaron Mauger revealing on Friday that he had sustained an MCL tweak earlier in the week.

“He picked up an MCL tweak the other day, so he’s back on that injury list,” Mauger told media.

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Josh Ioane on Crusaders derby

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Josh Ioane on Crusaders derby

“We’re hoping to get him right for some club rugby tomorrow, but he’ll be unavailable for the weekend.”

The news comes after Highlanders assistant coach Tony Brown last week said that the 13-test outside back was preparing to return to contact training after enduring a 21-month recovery spell from a troublesome shoulder injury.

Milner-Skudder’s last appearance came in November 2018 when he played for the All Blacks in their 69-31 victory over Japan in Tokyo, and hasn’t featured since as he continues his rehabilitation.

Mauger indicated that the injury isn’t too significant, and that the 2015 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year, who signed a two-season deal with the Highlanders in May, may be free to play against his former side, the Hurricanes, next Saturday.


Should he fail to prove his fitness by then, though, Milner-Skudder will have to wait until 2021 to make his Highlanders debut.

His injury woes echoes that of other prominent figures who have returned to New Zealand to play in Super Rugby Aotearoa but are yet to feature in the Kiwi league.

Former All Blacks and Crusaders legend Dan Carter was a surprise signing by the Blues shortly before the competition kicked off, and was expected to make his franchise debut against the Hurricanes in round six.

However, a calf injury ruled him out of that fixture, and with only one more round to play after this weekend, the 38-year-old has conceded it might be too big of an ask for him to recover in time to face off against the Crusaders in the final round of action.


Elsewhere, the Hurricanes re-signed franchise icon Julian Savea on a short-term deal last week, but having not played since leaving French club Toulon, he failed to make the match day squad to play the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday.

The 30-year-old will only have one more opportunity to make an appearance for the side he played 116 times for between 2011 and 2018 when they travel to Dunedin to face off against Milner-Skudder’s Highlanders in eight days’ time.


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Mzilikazi 5 hours ago
Daugunu salvo shows why Wallabies work-rate is everything to Schmidt

Nice article, Brett, and good to be writing about a second win. I think Georgia will be far more testing. Tbh, I have not looked at their touring squad, but at full strength they are a far better and more dangerous team than they were at RWC France. They would have been disappointed they did not perform to full potential there. I think that the WB’s under Joe Schmidt have started soundly. Recovery from a serious setback always takes time. And the Jones era was that and more. I think the arrival of Les Kiss back to his native Qld. is a very positive factor, and the fact that he and Schmidt know each other well is a help. Players I think are much improved this year: Daugunu, who has blossomed with the Rebels, so credit to the coaching unit down there. Am pleased he will come back to the Reds. McReight is said to have put on up to 7 kgs since last season. His work rate has always been good, but it is his carrying into contact that has gone up. Now makes those critical one or two metres post contact very often. Is conceding fewer penalties now as his game matures. Rob Valetini was good last year, but is now a greater force this one. A really punishing ball carrier. Hunter Paisami is now a more controlled player. His carrying into contact is very impressive for an 80 kg man. Interestingly, if you saw Nick Bishops latest article, he has a team for RC with Kerevi at 12. Also Skelton in the team. Not sure if there will be o’seas players as early as RC though….but need them in by the EYOT games.

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FEATURE Daugunu salvo shows why Wallabies work-rate is everything to Schmidt Daugunu salvo shows why Wallabies work-rate is everything to Schmidt