Rugby: Messam back for Chiefs

All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam returns from injury for the Chiefs against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.
All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam returns from injury for the Chiefs against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.

All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam returns from injury for the Chiefs against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.

Messam hurt his back last week before the team's big loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend, an injury which the Chiefs kept secret until the night of the game.

His return will boost a Chiefs team which needs only a bonus point to win the New Zealand conference.

Prop Toby Smith returns to the starting line-up, as does centre Tim Nanai-Williams. Andrew Horrell, who performed well as a substitute against the Crusaders, starts at fullback, with Robbie Robinson moving to the left wing.

Lelia Masaga is back on the right wing, with Aseali Tikoirotuma dropped to the reserves.

Flanker Sam Cane makes way for Tanerau Latimer.

Coach Dave Rennie said: ``We are obviously pretty disappointed with our performance last week but we are excited about the opportunity to redeem ourselves. We know these are traditionally big clashes and know the Blues will want to put in a big performance in their final game of the season.''

Chiefs team to play the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Bundee Aki, Robbie Robinson, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Matt Vant Leven, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith. Reserves: Mahonri Schwalger, Pauliasi Manu, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Gareth Anscombe, Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

- APNZ

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