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Former All Black Ian Jones answers your Super 15 questions

Ask Kamo: Messam's tighter All Black role requires a different style

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Liam Messam. Photo / Getty Images
Liam Messam. Photo / Getty Images

Q: Why does Liam Messam look so good for the Chiefs, but doesn't play with as much confidence for the All Blacks?

Graeme, Pukekohe

Two different teams clearly, Graeme, where he is being asked by the coaches to perform two different roles in totally different environments and intensities.

Liam has been fantastic in both camps for a number of years, adapting very well to the instructions given to him while never forgetting his core jobs as a blindside flanker. In the Chiefs he is their co-captain so a lot more visible in the lead-up to games.

He has been very vocal in setting the culture and public perception of the defending champions. On the field he is allowed to attack a little wider, highlighting his speed and skills to great effect.

Because of the nature of Super rugby and the way the Chiefs defend, Liam is often stationed three to four places out from the ruck, meaning the TV can focus in on his bone-crushing one-on-one tackles.

In the All Blacks, the role of our No6 in recent years has been to play a lot tighter and be a key support person for those contesting the break-down.

Because of this Liam and others who have worn that jersey aren't mentioned as much by the commentators, or seen to be ranging out in the open, which may slant your view to the confidence he is playing with.

These two different styles and roles he has been asked to perform may look like he is playing with more confidence in the Chiefs jersey but believe me, Liam is equally as comfortable in both.

Q: Did the Lions test highlight how far rugby is from having a set of laws everybody agrees on and interprets the same?

Chris, Napier

There has been just as much talk on the performance of Chris Pollock in that first test match than the actual game itself.

The test had plenty of movement and some wonderful tries that Chris helped instigate with his interpretations at the breakdown, where he called for quick ball and the advantage law, which he was very consistent with.

Because he set the tone early and penalised Brian O'Driscoll twice for the same offence, he should be applauded not criticised.

In recent years the IRB has gone to great lengths to get the players, coaches and referees to sing off the same song sheet, so there should be no excuse for any player not understanding the law. Also, in these days of video analysis, I cannot believe every player out there didn't know and study Pollock's style of refereeing and specifically how he interpreted the breakdown and scrum engagement.

If they didn't, then they leave themselves open to chance and criticism. That shouldn't be directed at the man who makes the calls.

Test matches are often won on how the players adjust or adapt to different situation that are happening out in the middle.

The Lions didn't do this very well, so once again shouldn't blame the ref for the multiple penalties they gave away.

The law is set - the interpretations may vary, but that is just down to our philosophy on how our game should be played.

- NZ Herald

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