Ex-All Black Milner-Skudder signs with Highlanders

Wellington (AFP) –


World Cup-winning winger Nehe Milner-Skudder announced Wednesday he will play for Otago Highlanders in New Zealand's domestic Super Rugby competition after injury and the coronavirus pandemic stopped him moving to France.

The 29-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2015, helping the All Blacks to World Cup victory with six tries in the tournament, before a string of injuries derailed his career.

After missing last year's World Cup due to shoulder surgery, Milner-Skudder was set to begin a three-year contract with Toulon but the French season was suspended before he moved.

He said he was relishing the prospect of getting back on the field and facing a new challenge with the Highlanders in Super Rugby Aotearoa, which is due to start on June 13.

"I've heard some unreal things about the club and the culture at the Highlanders," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to the move to Dunedin and embracing everything it has to offer."

At his peak, Milner-Skudder displayed electrifying pace and a deceptive side-step, qualities Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said would suit his team's fast-paced style under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"This was a great opportunity to include a player with his experience into our squad," Mauger said.

Milner-Skudder, who was previously with Wellington Hurricanes, has played 13 Tests, eight of them in 2015, when he scored a try in the World Cup final win over Australia.