Star Hurricanes fullback in doubt

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

There's a slight question mark over Nehe Milner-Skudder, but otherwise the Hurricanes are primed to begin their Super Rugby title defence against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

Assistant coach John Plumtree says the former All Blacks winger strained his hamstring at the weekend and would be assessed later on Monday.

"Hopefully he'll be all right, but we're not sure," he said.

"He's had a big pre-season, he's trained really well and he competed in the Tens competition, so he's good to go but unfortunately at the weekend he picked up a bit of a twinge."
Nehe Milner-Skudder's hamstring will be assessed ahead of the Hurricanes first match of the Super Rugby season. Photo: Getty Images.Milner-Skudder scored one of five Hurricanes tries in their 33-27 win against the Crusaders at Waverley on Saturday, continuing his comeback from shoulder surgery last year.

The 26-year-old eight-Test All Black missed most of last season after dislocating his shoulder in the Hurricanes third-round 23-19 win against the Blues.

Plumtree said the start of the Super Rugby season had come as something of a relief to the players.

"The pre-season's gone, all the hard work's gone, the conditioning's gone and we get into the real excitement in terms of game mode."

As defending champions, the Hurricanes approach the season with a target on their backs.

While they were looking to develop their attacking game as the season progressed, Plumtree said other areas had to be functioning close to their best from game one.
Nehe Milner-Skudder of the Hurricanes looks for a pass during the Hurricanes match against the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images."There are certain areas of the game you have to nail if you want to win.

"The back end of our field, our defence, our set piece are all areas we rely on to function well so we can get the result we want."

Skipper Dane Coles says the Hurricanes aren't approaching the season with the aim of defending their title, but rather winning it again.

"We've got to earn the right, attack and try to go back-to-back. It's the old cliche - week to week, we've got to make sure we prepare well and play well, and things will take care of themselves."

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