No Blunders for Skudder
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Milner-Skudder’s sudden rise is best summed up by the fact he did not recognise All Blacks manager Darren Shand’s number when he called to deliver the good news on Sunday.
It came as no surprise to All Blacks and Super Rugby supporters when New Zealand Rugby head coach Steve Hansen included the up and coming talent that is Nehe Milner-Skudder. There were some controversial calls made by the veteran coach, including the omission of two key members of the 2012 World Cup triumph on home soil, Corey Jane and Israel Dagg. However, Hansen has been praised for going with his gut and selecting the Hurricanes’ Full Back who has been electric this year.
The big question on everyone’s mind was could Milner-Skudder step up to the international stage. We have seen many players in the past dazzle us with their footwork and skills, but when the pressure is on in the All Black jersey, they crumble. NMS clearly has no time for pressure, as he kick-started his All Black career by scoring 2 tries on debut. Not to mention ripping the Australian back line apart in their back to back Rugby Championship tests.
Although he didn’t dot down in his second test match against The Wallabies, he showed his flair just after half time by sidestepping Dean Mumm in midfield and making a 40 yard break which eventually resulted in a penalty try for Quade Cooper’s high tackle on Aaron Smith, after Milner-Skudder produced the offload of the game.
Milner-Skudder first caught our eyes while playing for Manawatu in last year’s ITM Cup. Ever since then he’s been tearing it up in the Southern Hemisphere with 4 tries in only 15 appearances for the Wellington Hurricanes, not to mention the countless chances he has created. He is the pick of the tournament and certainly one to watch in England and Wales at this year’s Rugby World Cup.