The Highlanders thought Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai should have been red carded for the lifting tackle on Elliott Dixon.

All Black prospect Ngatai was yellow carded by referee Angus Gardner, who overruled the apparent TMO recommendation of a red card.

Highlanders No. 10 Lima Sopoaga noted Ngatai's remorse but quietly suggested consistency required a red card, after Highlander Jason Emery was sent off for tipping up Sharks fullback Willie le Roux a fortnight ago.

"Charlie didn't mean anything malicious...sometimes you just get in those positions," Sopoaga told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch.


"You saw the remorse...(but) there was similar one a few weeks back and (the Highlanders) got a red. Maybe there could have been a red. If you are judging it on Jason Emery maybe the consistency wasn't there. It's all good, Elliott wasn't hurt."

Meanwhile Sopoaga - who made an impressive All Black debut in Johannesburg in 2015 - said he was no longer afraid of the selectors' decisions after failing to make the World Cup squad.

"It doesn't scare me anymore, I've already been there," he said.

"I've already felt what it is like to miss out, felt that hurt...I don't think missing out again could replicate what happened in 2015. All I can do is enjoy my football, have some fun."