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Chiefs face nervous wait on Messam ruling

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/07/2016
Messam suffered concussion in the huge 40-16 win against the Crusaders last weekend. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Messam suffered concussion in the huge 40-16 win against the Crusaders last weekend.

The Chiefs are positive they will have the services of All Black Liam Messam for the play-offs after the loose forward made a seamless return to Super Rugby against the Reds.

Messam was cut from the New Zealand Sevens team to play at the Rio Olympics but showed he's lost none of his skills in the 15-man game following a successful 40 minutes off the bench in Brisbane on Friday.

However, the 32-year-old now faces a nervous wait to see if Sanzaar will allow him to play in the finals as he currently doesn't meet the criteria of having played four competition matches.

The Chiefs have applied to Super Rugby's governing body for dispensation and are hopeful of receiving a decision in the next couple of days, with the quarter-finals looming next weekend.

They believe Messam will be cleared to play after coming into the side earlier this month as an injury replacement.

"We are pretty confident and we wouldn't be using him now if it were pointless," coach Dave Rennie said.

"He's good and he gives us a little bit of niggle, and I think that is going to be pretty important this week against the Highlanders.

"It's great having him back as he brings another strong voice and is a very passionate Chiefs man."

Messam, who has played a record 146 games for the Chiefs, would add some vital finals experience to the team, having captained the side to back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

His presence would be even more welcomed now that Charlie Ngatai has been ruled out for the rest of the Super Rugby season with concussion symptoms while Japan captain Michael Leitch remains sidelined with a thumb injury.

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