James Mortimer 27.Jun.2012Getty Images
Messam, the Chiefs vice-captain, took full part in training ahead of the Investec Super Rugby New Zealand Conference leading team’s clash against the Highlanders, despite being one of the physical enforcers against Ireland over the weekend.
Other Chiefs All Blacks including Aaron Cruden, Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick sat out training – as most squad members from the team assembled during the Steinlager Series will be ‘slowly reintegrated’ back into their franchises.
However Messam is chomping at the bit, after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said that he had done things expected of him in the past, and hinted that the Chiefs flanker had fulfilled the expectations required.
His name will now be on the fore front of the All Blacks selectors minds, who are still to settle on a first choice blindside flanker for the test side.
Before Messam thinks of the All Blacks again, he and a fair number of Chiefs are focused on winning the franchise’s maiden title.
First they will come up against the Highlanders, who defeated the Chiefs 23-19 in round one, a clash where the men from the South brought to much physicality to Hamilton and walked away deserved winners.
This has been noted by the Chiefs, and they will also be wary of a Highlanders team that will remain in the Super Rugby Finals Series hunt if they can knock off the high flying visitors.
The Chiefs injury toll hasn’t cleared over the Super Rugby break, with Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga, Romana Graham and Fritz Lee picking up minor concerns in the franchise’s recent 'three-half' match against the Wasps and Cavaliers.
Aaron Cruden, who limped off the field in the first half of the All Blacks 60-0 win over Ireland, is being treated cautiously with an Achilles Tendon injury, although he still could play against the Highlaners at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The Chiefs are the only team ‘guaranteed’ to play Super Rugby Finals Series action based on their current competition points, while the Highlanders must beat their Waikato based rivals otherwise they will fall out of contention.