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Chiefs get reprieve as McKenzie cleared but another All Black sidelined

By Ben Smith
Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs receives medical attention during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between the Chiefs and the Crusaders at FMG Stadium Waikato, on February 23, 2024, in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Chiefs have got a positive diagnosis for Damian McKenzie who was forced off the field early in the second half against the Crusaders in the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific.


New Zealand publication Stuff reports the first five-eighth will be available to play in Melbourne for the Super Round after the rib injury was confirmed as bruising.

After giving up a 27-10 lead without McKenzie on the park, the Chiefs will be relieved to have their playmaker back against the Brumbies.

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One-time All Black Josh Ioane showed flashes of brilliance but lacked control as the Crusaders mounted a comeback to take the lead 29-27. Two late Ioane penalties allowed the Chiefs to hold on.

Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown passed his HIA test after being pullled from the field late but his partner Quinn Tupaea has failed an assessment which rules him out of Super Round.

The returning All Black played his first game for the Chiefs since 2022 but will face another short stint on the sidelines.

The Crusaders are also dealing with key injuries after the derby with All Black prop Tamiati Williams going down after nine minutes after what appeared to be a hamstring injury.


Stand-in first five-eighth Rivez Reihana also suffered a shoulder AC injury after copping a shot late in the game, which leaves the Crusaders down to last year’s New Zealand U20 rep Taha Kemara as cover with Fergus Burke still sidelined.

The Hurricanes came through relatively unscathed against Force, with flanker Devan Flanders the only concern after coming off in the first half.

The Blues and Highlanders came away without any concerns ahead of their clash in Super round.



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