Whether it’s as water boy or nutritionist, All Blacks star Nehe Milner-Skudder is prepared to do what it takes to help the Hurricanes get across the line in Super Rugby.
The electric winger will undergo a shoulder reconstruction next week and then begin six months of rehabilitation after scans this week revealed the nature of his nasty dislocation.
The 25-year-old will miss the Super Rugby season and realistically won’t be seen in an All Blacks jersey until at least the year-end tour to the United States and Europe.
It is a new, and gutting, experience for one of world rugby’s most vibrant attacking players.
“I’m obviously going to have a bit of time on my hands so I’ll probably try and find things to keep myself busy,” Milner-Skudder said.
“I’d love to still contribute to the boys and chip in where I can. I’ll probably see how my hydration technician (water boy) skills go and making protein shakes.”
Coach Chris Boyd was trying to look on the bright side, listing a number of other game-breaking outside backs at his disposal.
“I guess the only upside is that with Julian Savea and Cory Jane, James Marshall, Jason Woodward and Matt Proctor I still feel confident that we’ve got a pretty useful back-three.
“But Nehe’s special, eh?”
Jane, 33, is the immediate beneficiary, taking Milner-Skudder’s right wing berth against the Western Force in Palmerston North on Friday.
The 53-Test venue should also be prominent among those contesting the vacant All Blacks No.14 jersey to face Wales in three home Tests in June, with a leg fracture suffered by Highlanders flyer Waisake Naholo opening up the race.