Liam Messam can’t wait to put on the Chiefs jersey for the first time in over a year when he faces the Reds in Brisbane on Friday.
Messam is expected to be named on the reserves bench for the Suncorp Stadium encounter in a rapid return to Super Rugby after learning he had been omitted from the New Zealand sevens squad to compete at the Rio Olympics.
The 32-year-old’s last game for the Chiefs was their 24-14 play-off loss to the Highlanders 11 months ago.
He was part of the All Blacks’ World Cup triumph before putting his eggs in the Olympic basket.
“I’ve got that itch already to get back out there with the boys,” Messam says.
“I have had a couple of good days on the training paddock so I can’t wait to get back into the real stuff.”
The 43-Test All Black has played a record 144 games for the Chiefs.
He is excited about being involved in another finals run, having led the side to titles in 2012 and 2013.
The Chiefs lead the New Zealand conference and can secure a play-off berth with victory in Brisbane, leading into a testing last-round match away to the Highlanders.
“These young guys have really stepped up to the mark this season and it’s great for me to come back into an environment that I dearly love,” Messam said.
“I’m here to add value not just to be an add-on or an extra number so hopefully I can do that.”