New Zealand

Live updates: Super Rugby Aotearoa - Highlanders v Blues from Forsyth Barr Stadium

Smith's not wrong, he's been hit by the arm of Josh Goodhue as Laulala grounds the ball, but whether or not it's affected play will be a big call.

Despite a torrid run of injuries, the Highlanders need nothing short of victory, and other results going their way, if they’re a chance to claim a spot in the Super Rugby Aotearoa final.

The home side are without a considerable chunk of their squad, with Folau Fakatava, Liam Squire, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Freedom Vahaakolo and Connor Garden-Bachop for tonight’s encounter.

The last two weeks of the bruising, five-team competition has taken a heavy toll, with the Crusaders' Goodhue joining All Blacks captain Sam Cane and loose forward Ardie Savea also sidelined, and prop Joe Moody under an injury cloud.

The five-team tournament was launched last year to fill the void, after the Super Rugby season, which featured Australian, South African and Argentinian teams, was abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodhue, who was starting centre in five tests last year, ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the tight win over the Hurricanes at the weekend.

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