Messam deflects exodus talk as big money lures fourth Chief

Last updated 19:35 20/02/2013
Liam Messam
LIAM MESSAM: A fine example of an All Black great, born out of Marlborough.

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His closest mate in the team has gone overseas, his co-captain is going and so is fellow All Black Richard Kahui, but Liam Messam reckons he's sticking with the Chiefs.

Having cemented a regular starting spot in the All Blacks last year, Messam wants to stick with New Zealand rugby for now after good friend Sonny Bill Williams led the exodus at the end of last year and will be followed at the end of this season by Craig Clarke and Richard Kahui.

It is understood another Chiefs player is due to also announce his impending departure to a lucrative overseas contract and that the money being thrown around is three or four times what players are being paid here.

But Messam says he is not going anywhere, although he made light of the question.

''No-one wants me. Richard [Kahui] took all the money in Japan so there's no more money there and Craig [Clarke] took all the money in Ireland and there's no money anywhere else,'' Messam said.

He also has no intention of following Williams and Quade Cooper into the professional boxing ring, despite being a keen boxing trainer and having fought in the Fight for Life in the past.

''It's always been a hobby and something I've loved doing since I was a young fella, so once a week I head down to the boxing gym and hit a bag and use the mitts with Rik [Ellis] down at Ringside but at the moment I'm just fully focused on going back to back with [the Chiefs].''

Meanwhile Messam is thriving on the pressure in being part of the defending champion side in Super Rugby after the Chiefs success last year.

''I think it's good pressure and we've got to walk towards that pressure. I've been here a long time and I've always wanted to have that nametag where everyone wants to come at you.

''We've got that now so we need to not be afraid of it and really take it in two hands and have the attitude of 'bring it on'.

''We know what it takes to win a title now and it's going to be harder, I think, to win it a second time, but we've just got to go out there and do our job.''

Messam said while the Chiefs were excited going into the first game after two months of hard training they couldn't take anything from winning the three pre-seaon trial games.

''We can't look too much at the results. We were pretty disappointed with the way we played against the Hurricanes last week, especially with the forward pack and there is a lot of stuff we need to work on from Friday night.''

The breakdown area was the problem in the last two matches and they had been working hard on that as well as reducing the number of penalties conceded.

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