Hurricanes and All Blacks star Nehe Milner-Skudder is expecting a tougher Super Rugby season than last year as he thinks he will be a marked man.
At the start of the 2015 Super Rugby season Milner-Skudder was almost unknown to Super Rugby fans but by the end of the year he was an All Black and World Cup champion.
Twenty-five-year-old Milner-Skudder took a break to Hawaii at the end of the last year to reflect on what he had achieved.
“Thinking about the start of 2015, I didn’t have the All Blacks jumper, the World Cup and World Cup champions on the cards,” he told the Sunday Star Times.
“I was just looking at pushing my case for the Hurricanes and cementing a starting spot. It was pretty surreal and crazy how it all panned out.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge this year. Not many people knew about me last year so I could play my own game.
“Now teams will have their video analysis and work out things on the field, so it’s a challenge for me to come up with new ways to improve.
“It helps there will be a few new boys in the team and hopefully I’ll be feeding off them and they’ll set me up for a few meat pies (tries).”
In 2015 Milner Skudder was the Hurricanes rookie but now he is in a team Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Jeremy Thrush, and Ben Franks and as an All Black he will be looked at as more experienced campaigner.
“Losing those guys, not only what they do on the field but their leadership off it, they were awesome for young guys like me coming through. But there’s some quality players coming through who are keen to put their stamp on midfield.
“Being in a final and working out what worked and what didn’t in those key moments fuels your preparation.
“We need to learn from those so the next time we’re put in those situations we can handle them a lot better.
“We’ve moved on – but there’s still a bit of hurt there and we’re looking to use that this season.”