Sevens man up for Delhi title defence
Waikato’s Liam Messam said his return after a four-year absence to the New Zealand Sevens team he used to captain will be good for his 15-a-side game rather than jeopardising his All Blacks aspirations.
Messam decided only on Friday to make himself available as a replacement for injured forward Adam Thomson for the Commonwealth Games squad that will defend their title in Delhi next month, taking his time to talk to family, friends and coaches.
It means the in-form loose forward will miss three of Waikato’s last four ITM Cup round-robin matches and therefore have less chance to impress the All Blacks selectors ahead of the end-of-year northern hemisphere tour.
It also meant considering his health and safety after the various scares that have surrounded preparations for the games in India.
But after helping Waikato to a convincing 33-15 ninth-round victory over Tasman in Hamilton on Saturday night Messam said he was confident he had made the right decision.
‘‘I took a while to decide given all the media reports about what was going on in Delhi but once I’d spoken to my wife and my close friends, whom I respect, I made the decision to go,’’ said Messam who has not played sevens since the team won gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
‘‘I haven’t played sevens for four years and hopefully I haven’t lost it but I’m looking forward to it.
‘‘I think the way the 15s game has gone this is going to be good for my game.’’
Messam said he had spoken to all coaches he was involved with including the All Blacks’ coaches and they supported his decision to go to Delhi. ‘‘Hopefully I can go and play well over there and put my hand up for the end-of-year tour.’’
BACK IN BLACK: Liam Messam was a regular in the New Zealand Sevens team back in 1995.