The Highlanders will rely on a seasoned Super Rugby professional with Nehe Milner-Skudder a surprise late call-up for tomorrow evening's clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington
The injury to one-time All Black Josh Ioane paves the way for Milner-Skudder to make his Super Rugby return, with his chances of playing in Super Rugby Aotearoa looking over when he wasn't named in the Highlanders 23 yesterday.
Outside of pre-season outings, the 30-year-old Milner-Skudder is yet to make an appearance in a Highlanders jersey since joining the franchise last year. His last game came for the Hurricanes back in 2018.
Ioane's exclusion adds to a long list of injuries in the outside back area, with Fetuli Paea, Ngatungane Punivai, Freedom Vahaakolo, Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Connor Garden-Bachop all sidelined.
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Milner-Skudder will be licking his lips with only a handful of opportunities since his impressive 2015 year to reignite his rugby career. He enjoyed a meteoric rise to become an All Blacks starter on the right wing for their 2015 Rugby World Cup defence in England. Since, shoulder injuries have stunted his progression and all but ended his international career.
He will join forces with the in-form Jona Nareki and Sam Gilbert to form a handy back three as the southerners look to finish their campaign that's featured its fair shares of highs on a good note.
The Highlanders have a chance to finish third on the ladder should they beat the Hurricanes and the Blues lose their season finale against the Chiefs on Saturday evening.