100 up for Messam

Date published: March 14 2013

Liam Messam will play his 100th game for the Chiefs when the holders face the Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.

Liam Messam is poised to become the first Chief to play in 100 Super Rugby games when the champions face the Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Once again Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made several changes to his starting line-up. Prop Toby Smith, lock Michael Fitzgerald, back-row Tanerau Latimer and Andrew Horrell all make the XV.

Former All Black and multiple Super Rugby champion Ross Filipo makes his Chiefs debut at number eight and was thrilled to make the side.

“I'm really excited and want to get my first cap under my belt and join the boys,” he told the Chiefs website.

Filipo has played eight for the Chiefs during pre-season and when he played rugby in England.

Hooker Rhys Marshall comes onto the bench after flying over from New Zealand during the week after Mahonri Schwalger came home due to injury.

The Chiefs will celebrate Messam's milestone the following week at Waikato Stadium when they play the Highlanders on Friday, March 22 and encourage Chiefs fans to get behind the impressive loose forward.

Messam started his representative career with the New Zealand U16 Secondary Schools and played for the New Zealand U19s and U21s. He played for the New Zealand Sevens team in 2002, was made captain in 2004 and named NZ Sevens player of that year.

He won his first Commonwealth Games gold medal at Melbourne in 2006 and made it a double by winning another in Delhi in 2010.

Messam made his All Blacks debut in 2008. He has been a part of the Maori All Blacks since 2006 and has captained the side. He has also won a National Provincial Championship and the Ranfurly Shield with Waikato.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Date: Friday, March 15
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)