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Small steps for hot-stepper Milner-Skudder

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Nehe Milner-Skudder © Getty Images Nehe Milner-Skudder Nehe Milner-Skudder says an All Blacks return is far from his thoughts.

Getting back into the Hurricanes will be hard enough.

Test rugby's most exciting player in 2015, the hot-stepping winger has spent most of this year sidelined, recuperating from a dislocated shoulder suffered a handful of weeks into his team's triumphant campaign.

Thrilled by results from both the Hurricanes and the unbeaten All Blacks, it's left him with an uneasy feeling that selection is no sure thing next year.

"I can't get too far ahead, everyone's played incredibly well," he said.

"It's always a tough gig to get a starting spot, no matter what team it is.

"Thinking back a few years ago, my mindset was to try to get a few games for the Hurricanes and whatever happens from there will happen.

"It'll probably be no different next year."

Milner-Skudder's eight-month recovery will end on December 1 when pre-season training begins and he undergoes contact training.

The 25-year-old, who scored eight tries in eight Tests on the wing, including a starring role at the World Cup, is likely to be considered firstly at fullback for the Hurricanes.

However, he's wary of where brilliant teenage signing Jordie Barrett will be considered.

Uncapped at Super Rugby level, Barrett has already proven adept in several positions but Milner-Skudder reckons the youngster would be hugely dangerous at the back.

"Jordie's been killing it this year with Canterbury and he'll come into camp next year and be fizzing," he said.

"He's got plenty of height so he's good on the high ball. With me being a short fella, I think he'll go incredibly well.

"He probably wouldn't battle too much on the wing either."

The Hurricanes boast plenty of wing quality, including proven All Blacks Julian Savea and Cory Jane.

"NZ rugby is so strong that there's always competition for spots, and that just flows on to the All Blacks," Milner-Skudder said.

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