Twenty-two years after his last game for the club as a junior, former All Black Liam Messam has taken to the field for Marist St Michael's.
While his 20-minute cameo was not enough to get the Baywide Premier 2 side across the line, going down 53-8 to Rangiuru, it was an occasion which will live long in the memory for all involved.
The crowd of spectators lining the grass bank at Marist Park were made to wait for Messam to enter the fray as his Super Rugby contractual obligations meant he was only allowed to play 20 minutes. After 60 minutes the tracksuit was off and Messam took to the field to a round of applause from supporters of both sides.
While he was not able to change the result of the game, his class and power were evident. He provided a physical presence and pulled off a few of the big hits he is famous for. At one point a Rangiuru player dropped the ball cold when he looked up to see Messam lining him up.
What really sets him apart are his years of experience playing at the highest level. His knowledge of the game is second to none and it was clear with his positioning and the lines he ran off the ball against Rangiuru.
After the game, Messam said it was his decision to play and it was important to remember where you came from.
"It was fun. It's 22 years since I've pulled on this jersey and it's good to be back alongside the boys in front of a good crowd, I really enjoyed my day.
"It's really important [to promote the game at grassroots level]. Coming down here, not just to play for my junior club, it was bigger than that, it was an opportunity to come down here and hopefully inspire the next generation to fulfil their dreams.
"Hopefully one day they can become Chiefs like myself. That was the big drive for me, coming down here from Hamilton to play today. Even if it inspires one of the kids to put on a rugby jersey, that'll be awesome," Messam said.
The 33-year-old is in his last year with the Chiefs, for whom he is the highest capped player, and has signed a two-year contract with Toulon in France.
"When I'm finished rugby, I'm not coming back to play club rugby. I always wanted to play for Marist - it's my junior club, it's where my roots are from, it's where I started. It's always important that you remember where you come from and I was lucky [Chiefs coach Colin Cooper] gave me the opportunity. I was only allowed to play 20 minutes, he was pretty strict, I think I snuck on for 21 minutes.
"We've got a big four weeks coming up with the Chiefs, so it was good to get out here and have a run around in this jersey, get some real mud on my boots.
"The club has been really welcoming, it was awesome, and it was good to go up against a proud club like Rangiuru. It was good to see the passion, rugby is rugby, it doesn't matter what grade or level it is," he said.