Former All Blacks star Nehe Milner-Skudder is reportedly set to rejoin the Hurricanes on a short-term basis at the beginning of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
According to Newstalk ZB, Milner-Skudder is primed to link back up with the Wellington-based franchise as cover for the side’s All Blacks, who will miss a large chunk of pre-season as part of their rest programme following this year’s test campaign.
Those players – Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua and Tyrel Lomax – aren’t expected to return to training until early February, paving the way for Milner-Skudder to return to the Hurricanes in their absence.
The man with the deadliest step in rugby @Nmilnerskudder joins me on What a Lad this week, as we go through the highs and lows of his rollercoaster journey. Such a champion lad! Link in bio #whatalad pic.twitter.com/LA4hcRB0HY
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No official statement has yet been made by the franchise, and no indication has yet been given as to which other players will join Milner-Skudder at the Hurricanes as cover for the early stages of their pre-season.
The 30-year-old’s return to the Kiwi capital will come four years after the fan favourite made his last appearance for the Hurricanes in their 2018 semi-final defeat at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.
While Milner-Skudder was signed on with the Hurricanes for the following season, injury prevented the 2015 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year from turning out for the side at all in 2019.
The 30-year-old, who starred in the All Blacks’ run to the 2015 World Cup title, was then due to join French club Toulon, but his fitness concerns derailed that prospect.
Instead, Milner-Skudder was picked up by the Highlanders on a two-season deal in a surprise piece of transfer business ahead of last year’s inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.
Throughout his time in Dunedin, the 13-test outside back made just one appearance for the Highlanders, which ironically came against the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium in Wellington in April.
That match was Milner-Skudder’s first outing in professional rugby in two-and-a-half years, with his last game before that coming for the All Blacks in their 69-31 victory over Japan in November 2018.
Milner-Skudder went on to feature regularly for Manawatu throughout this year’s NPC in a player-coach role, but wasn’t re-signed by the Highlanders.