The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand is approaching quickly and ahead of the announcement of the tourist squad next week, it appears that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen could be without one of his biggest weapons this summer.
Hurricanes star Nehe Milner-Skudder announced himself on the international stage back in 2015 when he terrified and decimated oppositions with is elusive running and try scoring prowess.
Earning World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year, the future was bright for the 26-year-old. An injury ravaged 2016 put the breaks on what was quickly becoming an impressive rise to stardom.
Recovered from that shoulder injury, the unlucky back fractured his foot last month while playing for his Super Rugby club and following complications, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has revealed that Milner-Skudder faces an uphill battle to stake his claim for a spot in the New Zealand side to face the Lions this summer.
Reported by Rugby Heaven, Boyd was speaking to Newstalk NZ and he lamented the injury misfortunes of his star ahead of the highly anticipated arrival of the tourists.
“It’s one of those ones that he’s worked incredibly hard to keep fit and strong and healthy in other ways, but he’s got a wound that’s not helping him at the moment.
“Whether that’s the preparation that the All Blacks want for that, it depends what sort of back three they’re looking for and who else is fit, because there have been a couple of dings in that space.
“I think [Milner-Skudder] will be available, but he won’t have played a whole lot of rugby.”
Despite being down on match time, the threat that Milner-Skudder poses could well see Steve Hansen include him in his squad. With fellow All Black backs Israel Dagg and Waisake Naholo both battling injury, Hansen could well be presented with a selection headache on the wings this summer.
It being New Zealand however, there is always a new and exceptional talent waiting in the wings to step up and show their worth.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena