Liam Messam's longevity and durability will be celebrated on Saturday night when he plays his 150th game for the Chiefs.

The loose forward made his debut for the franchise in 2005 and, aside from a brief stint in Japan, has been a fixture in their line-up ever since.

Messam will register the milestone in his side's encounter with the Bulls in Hamilton, as the unbeaten Chiefs return from the bye and look to make amends after a sloppy win over the Rebels before their break.

And with their former captain once again leading out the side, the Chiefs will have no shortage of motivation for the clash against the South African side.


"It's a special occasion for Liam, his whanau and our club," said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie. "Liam epitomises Chiefs mana - he has a massive work ethic and is an inspirational leader.

"While this milestone acknowledges Liam's on-field achievements, we are immensely proud of the work he does with charities and in the community. It's great to be able to honour Liam at home, a place where he's received massive support from Chiefs fans since 2006."

An experienced lineup will take the field alongside the 32-year-old in his milestone match. Shifting back to his more familiar blindside flanker role, Messam will be joined in the loose forwards by Sam Cane and Michael Leitch, with the No 8 returning from a one-match suspension.

Locking combination Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick will partner for the fifth consecutive game, while in the front row Siegfried Fisi'ihoi will start for the first time this season, packing down alongside Hika Elliot and Nepo Laulala.

In the backs, Aaron Cruden will return to the starting XV at first five-eighth, with Damian McKenzie switching back to fullback. Johnny Faauli is promoted from the bench to partner Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield, while James Lowe is back on the left wing and Shaun Stevenson will start on the opposite sideline.

Chiefs team to play the Bulls on Saturday night:

1. Siegfried Fisi'ihoi
2. Hika Elliot
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Dominic Bird
5. Brodie Retallick
6. Liam Messam
7. Sam Cane (co-captain)
8. Michael Leitch
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain)
11. James Lowe
12. Johnny Faauli
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Shaun Stevenson
15. Damian McKenzie

Reserves: Brayden Mitchell, Kane Hames, Atu Moli, Taleni Seu, Mitchell Karpik, Finlay Christie, Stephen Donald, Solomon Alaimalo