All Blacks flanker Liam Messam wants the critics to lay off Sonny Bill Williams over his decision not to return to New Zealand in 2014.
Messam, who is one of Williams' best friends, said people should not criticise players for following their hearts and that he was sure the Sydney Roosters stalwart would be his team-mate at the Chiefs again in 2015.
"I have [been in touch], I'm just happy he's done what's best for him and his family, at the end of day he's done what's right in his heart, you've got to give the man credit for that," Messam told reporters in Dunedin.
"A lot of people are bagging him for his decision but that came from his heart and you can't take that away from him. I'm happy for him.
"I gave him a ring when I found he wasn't coming back, all intentions are he wants to come back in 2015, so I'm just happy he made the decision best for him and makes him happy."
Messam and Williams struck up a close friendship during the Chiefs victorious 2012 Super Rugby campaign before the latter returned to rugby league.
They were expected to reform their combination on and off the field next year.
There has been speculation that Ma'a Nonu could take Williams' place at the Chiefs, though he has also been linked with a move to the Blues who he represented in 2012.
Both Messam and Blues scrum-half Piri Weepu said they'd welcome Nonu next year, but would support their "mate" in whatever decision he made.