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All Black duo to steer Chiefs' ship

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:33
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It is a huge honour to co-captain the team with Liam
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All Blacks Liam Messam and Aaron Cruden have been named co-captains of the Super Rugby champion Chiefs for the 2014 season.

Inspirational loose forward and last year’s Super Rugby Final’s man of the match Messam will remain part of the captaincy duo and will be joined by talented flyhalf Cruden.

Coach Dave Rennie said: “Liam has been huge for us. He has an enormous work ethic and has led us to back-to-back championships. He is an uncompromising player and a leader who epitomizes Chiefs Mana.

“Aaron has been a massive influence in our success to date. His rugby knowledge, attitude and ability to direct a game is impressive. He is greatly respected, a natural leader and will thrive with this added responsibility.”

Twenty-five-year-old Cruden showed outstanding form for the Chiefs in their back-to-back winning seasons.  

This was officially acknowledged when Cruden won the Chiefs Player of the Year two years in a row. He captained the New Zealand Under-20s to a world title win in 2009 and captained Manawatu at the age of 20.

Cruden is rapt to be awarded the role of co-captain. “It is a huge honour to co-captain the team with Liam. We have clear goals that we want to achieve and know it’s important that we work harder than ever in order to reach those,” said Cruden.  

Messam is the highest capped Chief with 113 matches while Cruden has played 36 matches for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs will play their first pre-season match against the Queensland Reds in Toowoomba this Saturday evening 6pm Australia time before heading to Rotorua on Valentine’s Day to play the Blues at 6pm at Rotorua International Stadium.

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