Sevens man up for Delhi ti­tle de­fence

South Waikato News - - COMPETITION 2010 -

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.’’

Photo: FAIR­FAX FILE

BACK IN BLACK: Liam Mes­sam was a reg­u­lar in the New Zealand Sevens team back in 1995.

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