Nehe Milner-Skudder pumped to play rugby for Ngāti Porou East Coast

By Te Ao - Māori News

Nehe Milner-Skudder is pumped ahead of fulfilling a long-held dream of his to don the blue jersey of Ngāti Porou East Coast tomorrow and play at the hallowed Whakarua Park in Ruatoria.

The former All Black and Rugby World Cup sensation has been named at fullback in the team, coached by ex-All Black winger Hosea Gear, to play against Poverty Bay as part of the 100th year anniversary of the East Coast Rugby Union.

The 30-year old Ngāti Porou and Te Arawa rugby star scored the first try in the All Blacks' 2015 RWC final win against Australia at Twickenham and has played a total of 13 tests in the black jersey, before being sidelined with injury.

Tomorrow's game is one of three to celebrate the 100-year milestone, with a Possibles vs Probables team for the Ngāti Porou East Coast Women's team, and an NPEC Legends v Poverty Bay Legends. Milner-Skudder says he is extremely stoked to have the opportunity.

"It's hard case. As young fullas, we were always watching the games back in the late 90's.

"It's probably one of the last few jerseys of my rugby & sporting career that I haven't played in yet." 

 Kevin Hare, who has written a book to mark the Ngāti Porou East Coast Centenary, says to see Nehe realise his dream to play for Ngāti Porou tomorrow will be magical. 

"He [Milner-Skudder] actually becomes the 1199th cap for East Coast. There are four caps in the reserves, and one of them will have the honour of becoming the 1200th player in a hundred years to take the field.

"For Nehe to be there is great."