All Blacks boost as Milner-Skudder, Barrett return
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wing sensation Nehe Milner-Skudder will return from a lengthy injury lay-off for the Hurricanes this weekend, placing him in the frame for All Blacks selection against the British and Irish Lions.
The 26-year-old was named on the bench for Hurricanes' Super Rugby clash with Western Force in Perth on Saturday.
In more good news for All Black selectors, star flyhalf Beauden Barrett will start for the Hurricanes after being cleared of concussion following a head knock which caused him to miss last week's victory against the Bulls in South Africa.
Milner-Skudder has been out since mid-March, when he broke his right foot in a loss to the Chiefs, leaving him in a race against time to get fit for the Lions.
"It's great to have Nehe back in the mix," Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said.
"I know he's worked extremely hard during his rehab and he can't wait to pull on the Hurricanes jersey and get back into the campaign."
Milner-Skudder enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2015, helping the All Blacks to World Cup victory with six tries in the tournament.
But he missed the 2016 season with a shoulder injury and managed only two Super Rugby games this year before breaking his foot.
If fully fit, the elusive wing is a strong contender to make the All Blacks line-up for the first Test against the Lions on June 24.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Date: Saturday, June 3
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19.55 (23.55 NZ time; 11.55 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)