Nehe Milner-Skudder will miss World Cup with New Zealand after agreeing to join Toulon
Last Updated: 13/12/18 11:49pm
New Zealand's Nehe Milner-Skudder will miss next year’s World Cup in Japan after deciding to join French club Toulon at the conclusion of the upcoming Super Rugby season.
Milner-Skudder, who turns 28 on Saturday, has signed a three-year contract with French side Toulon.
The Wellington Hurricanes utility back was World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of The Year in 2015, when his All Blacks side won the World Cup, but has struggled with shoulder and ankle injuries since.
While All Blacks coach Steve Hansen - who has confirmed he will step down after the World Cup - continued to select Milner-Skudder, he fell further down the pecking order due to injuries and a lack of game time.
Hansen to step down after World Cup
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen will step down from the job after next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
He suffered another shoulder injury in the All Blacks' victory over Japan in Tokyo in November and was ruled out of the Maori All Blacks tour in South America.
The All Blacks have a policy of only selecting home-based players, meaning he will have no chance of playing at the World Cup.
Hansen said he had been in touch with Milner-Skudder and supported his decision.
"He was good enough to ring and explain to us so that's all you can ask for," said Hansen as he announced his own decision to step down after Japan.
"The first thing I asked him is have you thought about this? Have you thought about the time in the jersey? When they tell me they have, the only thing you can do is support them.
All Black Smith to join Pau
All Blacks wing Ben Smith will join Top 14 side Pau after next year's Rugby World Cup, the club's president said on Tuesday.
"Nehe hasn't had much luck at all in the last probably two years, and he's getting a bit older, so he's probably starting to think I need to support my family and the money is good so I'm going to go.
"So, again, you support him and wish him all the best."
Milner-Skudder is the second 2015 World Cup winner to announce this week they are leaving New Zealand rugby next year after Ben Smith said he would join another Top 14 side, Pau.