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2nd November 2015

‘Skudz’ wins World Cup, Breakthrough Player of the Year award

Nehe Milner-Skudder is the inaugural World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year. Photo: Getty Images

November 2, 2015: Nehe Milner-Skudder was named World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year one day after his sixth try of the tournament helped New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup – and two years after helping Penguins win the GFI HKFC 10s!

‘Skudz’, 24, became the inaugural recipient of the Breakthrough Player award after a remarkable year that included his Super Rugby debut for Hurricanes, a two-try All Blacks debut against Australia and six tries and a winners’ medal at England 2015.

The hot-stepping winger was among seven of the victorious All Blacks squad to have played 10s at Hong Kong Football Club, with four starting the final, two coming on as substitutes against Australia and flanker Sam Cane earlier captaining New Zealand in the group stage.

Flanker Jerome Kaino and outside centre Conrad Smith, who both played 10s in 2003, won the Rugby World Cup for the second time, while fullback Ben Smith was also among the four 10s veterans to start against Australia. Flyhalf Beauden Barrett and prop Charlie Faumuina came off the bench, the former to score a last-gasp try.

The ‘Magnificent Seven’ were among at least 25 former 10s players – including 14 winners – who competed for seven different countries at the Rugby World Cup (see list below).

Nemani Nadolo was Fiji’s top scorer at the World Cup and among many former 10s players to shine in the tournament, including Nili Latu, who captained Tonga.

GFI HKFC 10s players to compete at Rugby World Cup 2015


New Zealand (7) - Champions

Nehe Milner-Skudder (fullback) – Penguins 2013 (Cup winners)

Beauden Barrett (flyhalf) – Penguins 2010

Sam Cane (flanker) – Samurai 2010

Ben Smith (fullback) – New Zealand Legends 2008

Charlie Faumuina (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2008 (Cup winners)

Jerome Kaino (flanker) – New Zealand Metro 2003 (Cup winners)

Conrad Smith (centre) – Otago Shepherds 2003


Tonga (7) – 4th, Pool C

Nili Latu (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014-2015 (Cup winners); New Zealand Legends

Hale T-Pole (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2011-2014 (Cup winners 2012, 2014); New Zealand Legends 2001

Viliami Ma’afu (No. 8) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2012 (Cup winners)

Paul Ngauamo (hooker) – Penguins 2011, 2013 (Cup winners 2013)

Samisoni Fisilau (scrumhalf) – New Zealand Legends 2010

Sona Taumalolo (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2008 (Cup winners)

Soane Tonga’uiha (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2003 (Cup winners)


Samoa (5) – 4th, Pool B

Tusi Pisi (flyhalf) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2015 (Cup winners)

Alesana Tuilagi (winger) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Manu Leiataua (hooker) Samurai 2012

Census Johnston (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2004, 2005

Paul Perez (centre) New Zealand Legends 2007


Fiji (3) – 4th, Pool A

Malakai Ravulo (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Henry Seniloli (scrumhalf) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Nemani Nadolo (winger) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2012 (Cup winners)


Scotland (1) – Quarter-finals

John Hardie (flanker) – New Zealand Legends 2009


Romania (1) – 4th, Pool D

Paula Kinikinilau (centre) – Penguins 2011


Japan (1) – 3rd, Pool B

Karne Hesketh (fullback) – New Zealand Legends 2011

* If you’re aware of any other GFI HKFC 10s players competing at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, email:

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