Milner-Skudder, Etzebeth to join Toulon after 2019 World Cup

by AAP

The All Blacks career of exciting winger Nehe Milner-Skudder is all but over after he signed a three-year French club rugby deal.

Toulon has confirmed the 27-year-old's contract will join them in June next year before their Top 14 campaign, ruling him out of World Cup contention.

A scorer of 12 tries in 13 Tests, he burst onto the international scene in 2015 with his elusive running style and was named World Rugby's breakthrough player of the year.

His six tries at that year's World Cup included one in the final win over Australia at Twickenham.

Shoulder injuries and the depth in New Zealand's outside back stocks have forced Milner-Skudder to settle for sporadic appearances since, including two Tests this year, against Argentina and Japan.

Milner-Skudder joins his former Hurricanes wing partner Julian Savea at Toulon, along with former All Blacks Liam Messam and Malakai Fekitoa.

South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth will also join Toulon at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the club's president Mourad Boudjellal announced on Thursday.

Etzebeth, who has 75 Springboks caps, has signed a two-year deal with the Top 14 outfit.

Other internationals in Argentina back-row Facundo Isa and France outside-half Anthony Belleau have extended their contracts until 2022 with the club.

The announcement comes a day after accomplished New Zealand Test fullback Ben Smith announced he would play at French club Pau following next year's World Cup.

It's been widely reported that All Blacks captain Kieran Read will take up a French contract after the global tournament in Japan.