Cruden under injury cloud

by AAP

An injury cloud has descended over All Blacks five-eight Aaron Cruden following his early exit from the Chiefs' Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told reporters Cruden had suffered medial ligament damage to his knee in an incident late in the first half.

Rennie was unsure about the severity of the knock which forced the 28-year-old off at halftime.

His availability for the Test against Samoa in Auckland on Friday won't become clear until he is assessed further.

Despite having signed a contract with French club Montpellier, Cruden was included in the All Blacks squad for the Samoan Test and the subsequent three-match series against the British and Irish Lions.

Beauden Barrett, whose Hurricanes team went down 17-14 to the Chiefs, is likely to be the first-choice Test No.10 after leapfrogging Cruden for the role last year.