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Messam relishing competition for places
ESPNscrum Staff
January 2, 2012
The Chiefs' Liam Messam is tackled, Chiefs v Rebels, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, March 5, 2011
Liam Messam knows that he will have to work hard to retain his place in the Chiefs back-row © Getty Images
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Teams: Chiefs | New Zealand

Liam Messam has acknowledged that he faces a battle to hold on to the Chiefs No.8 jersey this year but the New Zealand international insists that he is looking forward to the challenge.

The 27-year-old former Sevens ace has been capped nine times by the All Blacks and has been one of the Chiefs' star men over the past few seasons. However, with Tanerau Latimer, Scott Waldrom, Alex Bradley and Sam Cane all vying for a place in the Waikato franchise's back-row in 2012, Messam knows that he can not afford to take his starting berth for granted.

"Yeah, it's going to be interesting," he is quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald. "I'm quite excited with the young talent we have here at the Chiefs. I think it's mixed in with a lot of experience as well and I think all the boys are itching to get out there."

But rather than worry about his own place, Messam is doing all he can to help those around him improve for the good of the Chiefs.

"I've made sure I've worked hard during the off season, especially with the younger boys, trying to lead by example and just try and stay in front hopefully to inspire them to work hard," he said.

Turning his attention to the Chiefs' new-look back-line, Messam believes that they could cause opposition defences all sorts of problems this year.

"I'm really excited to see the Sonny Bill-Richard Kahui combination probably one of the biggest midfields you could get, and they are an exciting talent," he said. "So really looking forward to seeing that and also Aaron Cruden coming up here to steer the ship, I guess. It's going to be a good back-line."

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