Topic: Rugby

Māori All Blacks back for the Chiefs encounter with the Lions

By Eru Paranihi
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Stephen Donald will captain the Chiefs in tomorrow's clash with the British & Irish Lions at Waikato Stadium. Hikawera Elliot and Liam Messam return to the squad after turning out for the Māori All Blacks in the weekend. 

It's a seamless transition to this environment for Liam Messam from the Māori All Blacks. The veteran Chief does not need the motivation to get up for this game. 

Chiefs Blindside Flanker, Liam Messam says, "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to play these guys, and I'm grateful enough to get two cracks at them. So, I'll be good to go."

Fresh from a beating from the Lions, Messam, along with departing hooker Hikawera Elliot know that they are better prepared for this encounter. 

"I guess for the Māori, we done the best we could with the time we had. We only had a couple of training together. I know our boys here are very well prepared. We've been together the whole season, so we've got a bit more tools up our sleeve that we can nullify that."

Lions coach Warren Gatland knows that The Chiefs are dangerous. His Welsh team went down 40 - 7 last year at the same venue. 

"I know he'll be looking forward to coming back out here. What the boys done to him for Wales, [he'll] be trying to get one back over us as well."

The Chiefs are expecting more of the same tight-five dominance that led the Lions to victory this weekend over the Māori All Blacks. The Chiefs are on notice from the coaches. 

Chiefs Assistant Coach Neil Barnes says, "You might have to ask their coaches, but at the end of the day, I don't think they'll change their game too much from what they've done. They've been very infective at doing it. So to be honest, I don't see much of a change." 

Should the Chiefs add another international scalp to their list, you can be sure they will receive more than a round of applause.