One of the great Chiefs stalwarts will play his 150th game for the franchise against the Bulls on Saturday in Hamilton.
Liam Messam has just turned 33 and will likely run out on his home ground in the No 6 jersey to try and subdue the physical but limited men from Pretoria. He has come a long way from the dynamic young loose forward who debuted in 2006, when Ian Foster was coaching the Chiefs, and Messam himself had to play second fiddle behind an All Blacks loose trio of Sione Lauaki, Marty Holah and Steven Bates. He racked up more than 80 consecutive games for the franchise from 2006-12 when he was finally rested due to a niggle. It was not quite in the realm of the indomitable George Smith, whose streak was well over 100, but not far off.
"I haven't really sat down to think about it. I just turn up every week and prepare like I usually do," says Messam.
"I love this community, love this team and franchise. It's hard to walk away from it. One day I will, but... I know my responsibility now."
His bye week was busy, as he took a team of Under 19s (Team Messam of the South Pacific Institute) to a sevens tournament in Hawaii, which they won.
Messam is cognisant of the fact the Chiefs were scrappy in the 27-14 victory over the Rebels. He feels "nailing the little details" will serve them well against the lowly Bulls, who are at 1-3 and 14th on the convoluted log.
Messam is the seventh player to reach 150 Super games, but just the fourth, after Wyatt Crockett, Keven Mealamu and Corey Flynn to do so for one team. Ma'a Nonu, for three franchises, is the other Kiwi player to hit the 150.
Coach Dave Rennie has No 8 Michael Leitch back from suspension, so should be able to field his full strength loose trio. He says Messam's achievement is "phenomenal."
"The guys gasp every time we name our team. It's written how many caps he's got. When some of these guys have just two or three, it's hard to fathom. He's a passionate Chiefs man and hugely respected by his teammates and the fans, so we're keen to put in the sort of performance that is worthy of that," Rennie says. "I don't have to say as much when Liam is around. He brings passion and guys stand up and listen."