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Messam to start 150th Super Rugby match against Bulls

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Hamilton Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs have named Liam Messam to start his 150th game for the team when they host the Bulls on Saturday.

Messam is dedicating his 150th game to Ka’iulani Forbes, the courageous Waikato 2-year old battling stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma.

Messam and many of his Chiefs teammates may run a little faster this Saturday when they take on the Bulls at FMG Stadium Waikato, having shaved their hair this week to raise money to assist the Forbes family in paying for the medical treatment Ka’iulani requires abroad.

Chiefs head Coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s a special occasion for Liam, his whanau and our Club this Saturday when he runs out for his 150th game for the Chiefs. Liam epitomises Chiefs mana; he has a massive work ethic and is an inspirational leader.

“While this milestone acknowledges Liam’s on-field achievements, we are immensely proud of the work he does with charities and in the community. It’s great to be able to honour Liam at home, a place where he’s received massive support from Chiefs fans since 2006.”

An experienced lineup will take the field with Messam in his milestone game this Saturday night. In the forwards, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi will start for the first time this season, packing down alongside Hika Elliot and Nepo Laulala. Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick partner in the second row for the fifth consecutive game.

Liam Messam moves from number eight to start at blindside flanker, with co-captain Sam Cane and Michael Leitch completing the formidable loose forward trio in jerseys 7 and 8 respectively.

In the backs, Tawera Kerr-Barlow will don jersey 9 again this week, with Aaron Cruden returning to the starting fifteen to start at first five-eighth. Johnny Faauli is promoted from the bench to partner Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield. James Lowe is back on the left wing this week, with Shaun Stevenson and Damian McKenzie completing the backline.

28-year-old Southland hooker Brayden Mitchell could make his Chiefs debut off the bench.

Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, James Tucker, Glen Fisiiahi, Chase Tiatia, Charlie Ngatai, Tim Nanai-Williams and Liam Polwart were all unavailable for selection.

Chiefs

1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi , 2. Hika Elliot , 3. Nepo Laulala , 4. Dominic Bird , 5. Brodie Retallick , 6. Liam Messam , 7. Sam Cane (co-captain) , 8. Michael Leitch, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow , 10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain) , 11. James Lowe , 12. Johnny Faauli , 13. Anton Lienert-Brown , 14. Shaun Stevenson , 15. Damian McKenzie

Replacements : 16. Brayden Mitchell* 17. Kane Hames , 18. Atu Moli , 19. Taleni Seu , 20. Mitchell Karpik, 21. Finlay Christie , 22. Stephen Donald , 23. Solomon Alaimalo ,

*denotes Chiefs debut

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