The All Blacks coaching staff are probably breathing a sigh of relief tonight, with Ben Smith's injury seemingly not as bad as first feared.

Smith was the major concern from the Highlanders' 31-all draw with the Chiefs in Dunedin tonight, requiring assistance to limp off in the second half.

Running at speed in the open field, Smith went down awkwardly after slipping into front-on tackle from Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson. As Smith slipped, his leg straightened and he couldn't regain his footing before being taken to ground.

Smith also suffered a head knock in the collision, leading to blood streaming down his face. The 75-test All Black's ailments would have caused concern for fans and selectors alike, especially considering the All Blacks have already lost Damian McKenzie for this year's World Cup.


There was thought Smith may have done serious structural damage to his knee, but Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger had happier news to report.

"He's got a hamstring strain, he's also got a good laceration on his chin, so he's getting stitched up. But he's got a strain there - we'll know a bit more in the next couple of days.

"Structurally, he's fine, it's just a soft tissue [injury]."

He was the second of the Highlanders' All Blacks injury concerns after lock Jackson Hemopo began limping, but he was able to play out the full 80 minutes.

Reinforcements are coming for the Highlanders, with Liam Squire available for selection, while Waisake Naholo could join him as soon as next week.

On the other side of the field, the already injury-riddled Chiefs lost key loose forward Lachlan Boshier inside the opening 20 minutes, who was followed by lock Michael Allardice 10 minutes later.