Nehe Milner-Skudder's shoulder is fine, but his tight hamstring is threatening to derail his full Super Rugby comeback this weekend.

The Hurricanes wing/fullback was looking good to resume his place in the franchise's back three for the historic first New Zealand clash with the Sunwolves in Tokyo this Saturday.

But he tweaked his hamstring in the 33-27 victory over the Crusaders last Friday in Waverley. Should he fail to take the field, it will firm up the likelihood of Cory Jane wearing the No 15 jersey in a country where he has plied his trade for several months of late.

The other fullback option is Jordie Barrett, who has impressed in pre-season, but may be introduced gradually off the bench, given he can cover several positions.


Milner-Skudder scored a second half try in Waverley to help the Hurricanes to the win, but must be in severe doubt to even make the plane to Tokyo tomorrow.

Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree seemed to be fairly relaxed about it all as he looks to finalise his side in the next few days. They endured a testing start to 2016, shipping 50 points to the Brumbies, copping it like chooks from a certain former Wallaby hooker and indeed not securing their first W until round three against the Blues. However, we know which way it went from there.

"This time of year for players is always a relief. All the pre-season and hard work has gone, and we get into real excitement in getting into game mode, and we go to a place we have never been before. It's certainly not a week's holiday. They (the Sunwolves) will be physical and we will have to prepare accordingly," Plumtree says.

Captain Dane Coles will have his first outing this weekend. That in itself is not unusual, as he has not played any pre-season games in the last three seasons. He doesn't need to, and is generally up to speed fairly smartly.

Coles says he is feeling refreshed, which may be bad news for defence coaches seeking ways to shut down a marauding hooker with the skills of most backs.

"The boys are in a pretty good space. It's probably the fittest we've seen the team. We were 'fat and slow' last year but ended up doing something," quips Coles.

"We know there is a target on our backs. It's a hard comp, but I'm not the person to come and out and say we're going to win. We have to earn the right."

Both Plumtree and Coles expressed sadness at the sudden death of former Wallaby Dan Vickerman. Plumtree tried to sign him for the Sharks when he left Australian rugby in 2012, while Coles recalls a hard-nosed competitor in the Waratahs' engine room in his early days of Super Rugby.