New Zealand will be without one of their top players for the upcoming November series.
Although many had expected Nehe Milner-Skudder to return from injury in time for the All Blacks’ European tour, it now looks likely that he will miss the November series.
Despite undergoing surgery after dislocating his shoulder during the Highlanders’ 34-15 victory over the Lions in March, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen all but ruled the winger out of contention.
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Hansen conceded ‘At the moment we don’t see him being available for the end of year tour… he would probably need everything to go pitch-perfect’.
In any event, the World Cup winning coach did reveal that the Milner-Skudder would have only been available for one of the All Blacks’ four match tour. It is therefore easy to understand why Hansen would chose to protect the 25 year old rather than risk one of his star players.
Is the risk too high? We wouldn’t want to take him and for him to get injured again. We’ll assess him later nearer the time… if there’s any doubt at all we won’t take him.
My understanding is that if he was going to be right for the tour we’d only get him for one game. Do we need to push it? The simple answer is no we don’t.
Hansen is now expected to turn to Waisake Naholo for the four match series, a player who has suffered indifferent form this season.
Although Milner-Skudder may have had ambitions of enjoying some free time as he entered the final stages of his recovery, Hansen warned that the winger ‘has a few things about his game that he has to develop too’.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena