Fleck: Chiefs will feel Messam loss
Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says the Chiefs will feel the loss of Liam Messam in their Super Rugby quarter-final on Saturday.
The Chiefs are in Cape Town already but they were forced to travel without their 32-year-old flank after a SANZAR ruling deemed him ineligible to take part in the Super Rugby playoffs after playing less than four games during the regular season.
Messam was not a part of the Chiefs' original squad a the start of the season as he focused instead on earning a place in the New Zealand Sevens squad that will travel to the Olympics in August.
But, when that didn't materialise, Messam returned to Super Rugby.
He has played two games since.
Fleck believes that the Chiefs will miss their 43-Test veteran, even though his role this season has been limited.
"I would think so because he’s one of their leaders and a stalwart for them for the last couple of years," said Fleck.
"I think the rest of the group draw a lot of inspiration from him. I know that they were desperate to get him on tour … it isn’t to be so certainly that is a loss for them."
Still, Fleck thinks the Chiefs were in good hands under the leadership of Sam Cane.
"He’s been in their leadership group for some time now and in the All Black leadership group for a long time," said Fleck.
"They will draw inspiration from players like him and (Aaron) Cruden and (Damian) McKenzie at the back … they’re a good side, an aggressive side and a hard-working side.
"They’ve done incredibly well to lead most of this competition and they just fell at the final hurdle. I think they’re going to be a little bit angry when they come to Cape Town."