Messam hopes to leave Chiefs on a high

By James Perry

Former Māori All Blacks captain Liam Messam's final game with the Chiefs is getting nearer.  At the conclusion of the super rugby season, he will take up a contract with Toulon in France.

The Chiefs record cap holder has started to countdown the days till his career with the Chiefs comes to an end. 

"I think it's forty days till our last game here. I'm just taking every day as it comes, yeah and just trying to give everything I can," says Messam.

Coach Colin Cooper confirmed that Messam is doing just that, saying "I think he's feeling it, it's coming to an end and he's doing all he can so that this team can be there on August the 4th."

At the end of the super rugby season, Messam will be taking up a two year contract with Toulon.  He says the move will be easy, "Rugby is rugby, as you can see- two goalposts behind me, and a rugby ball," but admits the lifestyle in the south of France will be a bit different for his family. 

The 40-test All Black also says there was something else on his 'rugby bucketlist' he wanted to cross off before the move, and that was to play a senior game for his junior club, Marist St Michaels in Rotorua.

He achieved that during the recent international window.  It wasn't just about playing rugby though, it was a rare opportunity to give something back to his hometown, "growing up there weren't a lot of older role models that played rugby and hopefully I could go back home and inspire the next generation of young rugby players to be Chiefs," he says.

The Chiefs mantra in recent years has been Chiefs Mana" and if there is one player that personified that mantra, Liam Messam would be that player.

Cooper credits Messam with helping the younger members of the squad stay focused during the international window when super rugby has a three week break.

Cooper says, "he's got a lot of mana in the group.  Everyone will follow him and he's been great."

The Chiefs have three regular season matches left, before the finals.

The road to the finals and Messams farewell begins this week in Fiji when they play the Highlanders on Saturday.