While the All Blacks selectors would like to see more of Damian McKenzie in the Chiefs' No 10 jersey or position, the reality is that if the All Blacks were being picked tomorrow, he would probably be in the No 15 jersey.

That is partly because Ben Smith, Israel Dagg and Nehe Milner-Skudder are all crocked at the moment, but also because McKenzie is again his usual sparky self and he gave a timely reminder of another string to his bow with a six from six goalkicking return in the appalling conditions in Hamilton for the 26-18 victory over the Hurricanes.

"Crudes had a bit of a sore toe, so I ended up taking them on the weekend, and banged a couple over, which was nice," says McKenzie, who tends to move into No 10 if Aaron Cruden is subbed. In a full strength All Blacks side with Beauden Barrett at first five, McKenzie appeals as a handy No 22 or 23, especially if his goalkicking is on song.
The man himself is relaxed about whether he starts at No 10 for the Chiefs, perhaps as early as the Rebels this Friday night in Melbourne.

"Look, I'm just having a run there (at training) and getting my head around a few moves. It's good to prepare for both positions for whatever the situation is," he says.


"It's a position I always started off playing. I only moved to fullback in my first year out of school (2014). It would be awesome to have a go there but we'll have to wait and see."

The Chiefs are saying all the right things about not being complacent, but if they can take 14 points out of three sapping New Zealand conference clashes, then five points against the hapless Rebels should be a banker.

"The Rebels had a week off so they'll be pretty fresh for this game. They've conceded a few points... but this is the first time we've had to travel out of the country," McKenzie says.

He knows the Chiefs need to be better in the last 20 minutes than they have been against the Chiefs and Hurricanes, and McKenzie has identified discipline as the work-on. But he is more than happy for the Chiefs to be leading the competition.

"To have 14 points after three rounds against three New Zealand sides is unreal. We would definitely have taken that at the start of the season."

In other Chiefs' team news, coach Dave Rennie confirmed that centre Tim Nanai-Williams, who departed with a shoulder injury on Friday night, will be out for between 4-6 weeks.

The Chiefs can ill afford another injury, but they are far from the only New Zealand franchise with that problem. Stephen Donald filled in admirably with a sound defensive display at second five, and would be an option to start at No 12 against the physical Highlanders' midfield. Rennie likes his "voice" and he offers a sound kicking option in the five-eighths. Anton Lienert-Brown would shift out to centre in that scenario.