Liam Messam is the latest high profile addition to this year's Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

The 45-test former All Blacks loose forward will rejoin Waikato, five years after last appearing for the province, after returning from France.

Messam will bolster a Waikato team already featuring All Blacks Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sevu Reece and Luke Jacobson.

The 36-year-old continues the trend of All Blacks returning home amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Sam Whitelock and Nehe Milner-Skudder, who is expected to turn out for Manawatu this season after linking with the Highlanders, fall into this bracket while Julian Savea may also return to the provincial competition, possibly with Wellington.


Before the test season commences with the Bledisloe Cup series All Blacks are expected to play the first three rounds of the Mitre Cup season.

Since leaving New Zealand, Messam has played for the Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan and he spent the last two seasons alongside Savea with French club Toulon.

Messam has 85 provincial caps over his 12 seasons for Waikato, who open their season at home to Wellington on September 12. He also made 179 appearances for the Chiefs, winning two titles.

Waikato coach Andrew Strawbridge was excited to have Messam onboard.

"Messam is a very talented and vastly experienced player, who can play a range of positions in the loose forwards. He is another one of these players that cares deeply about the jersey, his teammates and is well respected by the province, so we are very fortunate to have him back in the colours."