Ti­tahi Bay visit for Mil­ner-Skud­der


One small step on the tread­mill. One gi­ant leap for Nehe Mil­nerSkud­der.

The Hur­ri­canes and All Blacks ex­cite­ment ma­chine passed an im­por­tant mile­stone in his elon­gated re­turn from a bro­ken right foot when jog­ging on a tread­mill last Mon­day, and re­mains hope­ful of re­turn­ing for the June 9 Su­per Rugby game against the Chiefs, if not sooner.

That would keep his dream alive of fac­ing the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions, ei­ther for New Zealand Maori on June 17, the three­test se­ries start­ing a week later or for the Hur­ri­canes on June 27.

But, for now, the eight-test All Blacks out­side back is just happy to be moon boot free and run­ning again, nearly two months af­ter he suf­fered the cracked metatarsal bones on March 10.

‘‘I’m mak­ing progress. It ob­vi­ously took a lit­tle bit longer than we ex­pected. The first cou­ple of weeks went so well just coming off the crutches but the three to six week mark it took a while to knit back to­gether,’’ he said.

The 26-year-old’s most re­cent test re­mains the World Cup fi­nal win over Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber 2015, be­fore a dis­lo­cated left shoul­der play­ing for the Hur­ri­canes saw him miss nearly all the 2016 sea­son.

Mean­time, train­ing beck­oned on Tues­day. Not with the Hur­ri­canes, but with Ti­tahi Bay In­ter­me­di­ate’s girls’ and boys’ sevens teams pre­par­ing for the AIMS Games in Tau­ranga in Septem­ber. Mil­ner-Skud­der was the star at­trac­tion of the Games’ of­fi­cial launch, with the 14th edi­tion set to draw more than 10,000 in­ter- me­di­ate age chil­dren from around the coun­try in 21 sport­ing codes.

Mov­ing freely on his in­jured foot, Mil­ner-Skud­der ran coach­ing drills, con­ducted a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion and posed with a replica of the Webb El­lis Tro­phy, the spoils of vic­tory on that mem­o­rable night at Twick­en­ham. There were no curly ques­tions, but he de­parted mi­nus his spon­sored cap.

‘‘Some­one took off with my hat. They ac­tu­ally asked for it. That was prob­a­bly the best ques­tion of the day. It had a few dirt marks so I don’t know if it’ll be much of a sou­venir,’’ he said with a laugh.

‘‘The kids were awe­some, a great school to be at and we had an awe­some powhiri wel­come. To be on the re­ceiv­ing end of that, be­ing a pretty proud Maori boy, was re­ally spe­cial.’’


Ti­tahi Bay In­ter­me­di­ate pupil Arkaid Ed­monds, 11, takes part in the powhiri for All Black Nehe Mil­ner-Skud­der on Tues­day.

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