Chiefs star keen to play

George Byron

CHIEFS star Liam Messam is set to reach the milestone of 100 Super Rugby appearance when his team clash with the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday night. Messam has made it clear to his coach Dave Rennie that he does not want to sit out Friday’s showdown at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium just so he can celebrate the special milestone on home soil.

In the history of the competition, only 22 players have managed to reach a century of appearances.

There has been speculation that Messam could be rested so that he could reach his century when the Chiefs play at the Waikato Stadium next weekend against the Highlanders.

Messam wants to play against the Kings and make history in what promises to be a hard-fought showdown against a fired-up home team.

Rennie has been toying for a while with the idea of resting the loose forward against the Kings so he could become the first Chief to bring up 100 games on home soil at Waikato Stadium the following weekend against the Highlanders.

That plan for a special home celebration was to hinge on any injuries that might have been picked up during the Stormers clash at Newlands. But now it seems that plan might be abandoned if Messam gets his way.

“We’ve had a chat to Liam and we’ll make a decision in the next day or so,” Rennie told the Waikato Times.

“We have got a number of concerns with our loose forwards and I know Liam’s attitude is he wants to play and then celebrate 101 at home. “In the end we’ll just do what’s best for the team, but it’s important now against another side that will look at our game and probably think they can do a carbon copy of the performance that exposed us in a number of places.

“But I’m confident that the boys will bounce back.”

The only injury concern from Saturday’s match is hooker Mahonri Schwalger’s knee. Youngster Rhys Marshall will be flown to South Africa if Schwalger does not recover quickly enough, said Rennie.

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