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.