Nehe Milner-Skudder might skip playing in the third round of next year's Super Rugby competition. It must feel like that round is cursed for him.

Last year his season ended in the third round when he dislocated his shoulder at Eden Park. Now he's in the market for a bit of good luck, waiting to see how badly he damaged his ankle against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Hurricanes and All Blacks are hanging in alongside him, hopeful of hearing something moderately positive early this week about his prognosis. It would be too cruel for Milner-Skudder to fail to make it past the third round for the second consecutive year.

The 26-year-old is expected to know the extent of his injury by Monday. Certainly, the immediate impression he gave as he limped off in the second half of the Hurricanes' loss to the Chiefs, was that it appeared to be relatively serious.


His face told the story - he was in considerable pain after being tackled and while he gingerly managed to put weight on his damaged ankle as he was being helped off, he quickly stopped after a couple of strides.

It didn't look good and the big fear for Milner-Skudder will be that there is a broken bone in the mix. That's the diagnosis he doesn't want to hear as that will put him in a dark place.

That will most likely see him out for the sort of extended period that will make it hard for him to recover in time to stake his claim for a place in the squad to play the British Lions. It won't be impossible, but it will make his life hard as competition for berths is intense.

The All Blacks are spoiled for choice in their back three. They have Ben Smith and Israel Dagg as the seasoned, ultra-reliable performers who can run, pass, kick, take high balls and thrive in the pressure of test football.

They have Julian Savea in good shape and good form. Waisake Naholo remains a fascinating player with such an incredible talent for pulling off the seemingly impossible and Rieko Ioane is proving to be the sort of all round footballing talent that excites coaches.

That's a hard queue to get to the front of and Milner-Skudder knows that he needs to give the All Blacks' coaches a reminder of what he can do.

He's desperate to return to the sort of form that saw him light up the 2015 international season and become such an important part of the All Blacks' weaponry at the World Cup.

It is going to be a nervous wait - for everyone as for all the weaponry the All Blacks have at their disposal, Milner-Skudder brings something different.

His game is all about his speed, his agility on his feet and ability to beat defenders in confined spaces. That makes him hard to shut down because his skill is beating defenders one-on-one.

He can create and he can finish and he can also cover well at fullback. It will be a nervous wait for him and the All Blacks coaches.