Messam very proud of captain Cane

Date published: September 23 2015

New Zealand veteran Liam Messam was delighted for back-row colleague Sam Cane after the openside flanker was named captain against Namibia.

Cane, who was one of twelve changes to the XV made by coach Steve Hansen, lines up alongside Messam and number eight Victor Vito on Thursday.

And Messam was thrilled about the leadership role Cane has been given.

"I'm very happy for my little mate. He has come a long way. I remember him as this kid who came into Chiefs training as a 17-year-old. To see him captain the All Blacks is a very proud moment," he said.

"I remember this kid who was 17 rocking up to Chiefs training looking like he was 30. He was a great kid, strong in the gym and he was fit. He got stuck into training with the Chiefs.

"He has got a lot more confident as the years have gone by. He is a young man but he has been through a lot in his short career.

"He leads by example by the way he plays. I thought he was outstanding this year, not just for the All Blacks but for the Chiefs as well. He will be taking his leadership to a whole new level. Hopefully I played a small part in that."

On the comparisons between Cane and Richie McCaw, Messam added: "They have got the same haircut. They are different players – Richie will be Richie McCaw and Sam will be Sam Cane."