All Blacks wing's World Cup hopes dashed
INJURY UPDATE: Injury-riddled All Blacks wing Nehe Milner-Skudder’s slim hopes of appearing at this year’s World Cup appear to have been halted.
The 28-year-old Hurricanes star, who will join Top 14 club Toulon in France next year, will undergo another surgery on his troublesome shoulder, which has kept him out of action for the entire Super Rugby season thus far.
As a result, he won’t appear for the Hurricanes at all this year, meaning it’s likely he has played his final match on New Zealand soil.
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Halfway through what’s been a challenging year. There was plenty to work towards and look forward too on the Rugby to-do list but unfortunately due to ongoing issues with my shoulder from a prior surgery not going as well we’d hoped, it was the best decision to go under the knife again to get it sorted. I’ve been through “a few” injuries but this has easily been the toughest one – both physically and mentally. However, I’m not ready to give up anytime soon, love a good challenge and have so much love and support around me #Grateful 🙌 Obviously I’m guttered at how the start of the year has panned out but as the great MLK once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ✊ Much love to you all ❤️
“There was plenty to work towards and look forward to on the Rugby to-do list, Milner-Skudder posted to Instagram.
“But unfortunately due to ongoing issues with my shoulder from a prior surgery not going as well as we’d hoped, it was the best decision to go under the knife again to get it sorted,”
Milner-Skudder’s new injury niggle is one of many that have plagued him since his test debut in 2015 when he starred en route to helping the All Blacks claim an unprecedented third World Cup crown in England.
The hot-stepping wing scored eight tries in eight test appearances that year and won the inaugural World Rugby Breakout Player of the Year award.
However, a string of injuries since then has massively restricted his playing involvement at all levels of the game, with Milner-Skudder playing only five more tests for the All Blacks in the preceding three years following on from the World Cup.
He recently became an ambassador of a New Zealand Rugby campaign for mental health awareness in sports, referencing the significant toll his long list of injuries has had on him.
“I’ve been through ‘a few’ injuries, but this has easily been the toughest one – both physically and mentally,” he said.
“However, I’m not ready to give up anytime soon, love a good challenge, and have so much love and support around me,”
Milner-Skudder is set to join fellow New Zealanders Julian Savea, Liam Messam and Bryce Heem when he links up with Toulon ahead of the 2019/20 season later this year.