The Highlanders confirmed the signing of former All Blacks wing Nehe Milner-Skudder. Former All Blacks wing Nehe Milner-Skudder has signed with the Highlanders until the end of 2021.
Milner-Skudder, 29, signed with French club Toulon in late 2018, but a shoulder injury jeopardised that deal.
Highlanders CEO, Roger Clark, said, “We are excited to welcome Nehe and Hanna to the Highlanders family. A player of Nehe’s calibre and his level of professionalism is going to add great value to the team.”
Highlanders Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, said, “this was a great opportunity to include a player with his experience into our squad. His style of play suits the way the Highlanders play the game, especially under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium, and we look forward to welcoming him into the team.”
Milner-Skudder has played 50 games for Manawatu and 35 for the Hurricanes and was set to join Toulon in 2019 until a shoulder injury scarpered those plans. Milner-Skudder will join fellow Manawatu teammates Aaron Smith and Rob Thompson at the Highlanders.
“I've heard some unreal things about the Club and the culture at the Highlanders. I'm really looking forward to the move to Dunedin and embracing everything it has to offer. I'm excited for this new opportunity and can't wait to get into some mahi with the boys and lace up the boots for the Highlanders”, said Milner-Skudder.
Milner-Skudder had previously signed offshore but was unable to take up this contract due to ongoing shoulder rehabilitation in New Zealand. The Highlanders have several outside back injuries in Tevita Nabura, Thomas Umaga Jensen and Connor Garden Bachop making Milner- Skudder’s inclusion possible.
The pandemic and the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa have provided the window and opportunity, with the support of the Hurricanes and NZ Rugby, for Milner-Skudder to join the Highlanders for the remainder of this year and he has subsequently signed for 2021 season.
Vilimoni Koroi will also assemble with the team now that his Olympic All Blacks Sevens duties have been suspended.
It was revealed earlier on Wednesday that Milner-Skudder rejected the opportunity to rejoin the Hurricanes in favour of the Highlanders.
“We had a contract offer in front of him, but he decided he wanted to go to the Highlanders,” Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland told Newstalk ZB.
“He had a look at all the plusses and minuses of both sides and he decided it was best for Nehe Milner-Skudder to be at the Highlanders.
“That was Skudz’s call and he had to do what was best for him.”