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All Blacks’ Smith cleared of serious injury

Aaron Mauger has allayed concerns over Ben Smith after the New Zealand full-back was helped off late in the Highlanders’ thrilling 31-31 Super Rugby draw with the Chiefs.

Smith was treated as he lay on the turf following a heavy collision with Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

The All Black looked groggy as he walked off the field with assistance from medics.

Highlanders head coach Mauger says 32-year-old Smith – who will join Pau after the Rugby World Cup in Japan – was not seriously injured.

“He’s got a hamstring strain, and he’s also got a good laceration on the chin and he’s getting stitched up at the moment,” Mauger said.

“He’s got a strain and we’ll know a bit more in the next couple of days. Structurally he’s fine, it’s just soft tissue.”

New Zealand have already lost versatile back Damian McKenzie for the World Cup due to a knee injury, so Steve Hansen will be relieved to hear that Smith is not facing a lengthy absence.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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