Super Rugby's iron horse

Chiefs inspirational co-captain is competition’s most durable athlete
Liam Messam has played almost 4000 minutes for the Chiefs over the past three seasons. Photo / Getty Images
Liam Messam has played almost 4000 minutes for the Chiefs over the past three seasons. Photo / Getty Images

He plays in a high-attrition position and has the added burden of test rugby, but Liam Messam is Super Rugby's version of the Iron Horse (a nickname first given to baseballer Lou Gehrig who played 2130 consecutive games).

Over the past three seasons Opta stats, which can be accessed through Herald Rugby Stats Centre, show that Messam has played 3916 minutes for the Chiefs, nearly 66 hours of rugby.

Closest to him is another New Zealander, Crusaders flanker George Whitelock, who played 99 minutes less over those 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Cheetah Robert Ebersohn comes in third with 3813 minutes on his odometer, while Will Genia is the most durable Australian, with 3693 minutes logged.

This graphic shows the top 100 players' accumulated minutes over the three seasons.

Click on the individual years to see who logged what in each year.

In 2011, for example, the two players who logged the most minutes were Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Was it coincidence that stability at halfback and first-five earned the Reds their first Super Rugby championship?

- NZ Herald

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