Ton up for big Chief Messam
Ton up for big Chief MessamSHARE
Co-captain Liam Messam is to become the first Chiefs player to play 100 Super Rugby matches when the Chiefs play the Southern Kings on Friday.
While legendary Chiefs fullback Mils Muliana played over 100 Super Rugby games, his century came via with a combination of matches for the Chiefs and Blues.
Messam will thus become the first player to notch up 100 appearances for the Chiefs.
Messam started his representative career with the New Zealand Under-16 Secondary Schools and played for the New Zealand Under-19s and Under-21s.
He made the New Zealand Sevens team in 2002, was made captain in 2004 and named New Zealand Sevens player of that year. He won his first Commonwealth Games gold medal at Melbourne in 2006 and made it a double by winning another in Delhi in 2010.
Messam made his All Black debut in 2008. He has been a part of the Maori All Blacks since 2006 and has captained the side. Messam has also won a National Provincial Championship and the Ranfurly Shield with Waikato.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has again made several changes to his starting line-up with prop Toby Smith, lock Michael Fitzgerald, loose forward Tanerau Latimer and Andrew Horrell all making the run-on side.
Friday’s match will also see All Black and multiple Super Rugby champion Ross Filipo make his Chiefs debut at No.8.
"I'm really excited and want to get my first cap under my belt and join the boys," said Filipo, who played eighthman for the Chiefs during the pre-season and when he played in England.
Hooker Rhys Marshall comes onto the bench after flying over from New Zealand during the week after Mahonri Schwalger returned home due to injury.
The Chiefs will celebrate Messam's milestone at Waikato Stadium when they play the Highlanders on Friday.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Date: Friday, March 15
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)