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Messam benching part of plan: Chiefs

Friday, April 11, 2014

Update: 1:55PM THE Chiefs were always going to rest co-captain Liam Messam on return from South Africa and will stick with the plan despite not having won for almost a month.

Loose forward Messam has been named on the bench for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Rebels in Hamilton and lock Brodie Retallick will take over the skipper's duties with Aaron Cruden, the other co-captain, out with a broken thumb.

The defending champions returned to Hamilton following a loss to the Force in Perth and draws against the Bulls and Cheetahs in South Africa.

The decision to put Messam on the bench for Saturday's match was made even before the team left for South Africa, assistant coach Tom Coventry revealed this week.

He said even with Cruden's injury the fact Messam had played every minute of every game so far in 2014 meant they had decided to stick to the original plan.

Previous captains Tanerau Latimer and Mils Muliaina could have led the side but Coventry backed Retallick's captaincy abilities.

"Brodie is a pretty hard-minded sort of bloke. He's pretty sure of himself. He makes good on-field decisions," Coventry said.

"He's got the full respect of his teammates. He plays with an authority and a real field presence which you need from a captain."

Eight changes have been made to the Chiefs' starting line-up and four to the bench for the Rebels match.

Chiefs: Tom Marshal, Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Bundee Aki, Mils Muliaina, Gareth Anscombe, Augustine Pulu, Kane Thompson, Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer, Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Tameifuna, Rhys Marshall, Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Pauliasi Manu, Josh Hohneck, Ross Filipo, Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordan Payne.

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