Messam not allowed to face Stormers
Wellington - The Chiefs departed for South Africa without Liam Messam on Monday after SANZAAR ruled the loose forward was not eligible to play in their Super Rugby finals campaign.
Messam rejoined the Chiefs this month after missing selection for the Olympics sevens team, only for the southern hemisphere's ruling body to rule him out of the playoffs.
SANZAAR spokesperson Greg Thomas said Messam was not in the Chiefs' 40-man squad named at the start of the season, so needed a special dispensation to play.
"There's been a lot of deliberation over this," Thomas told Fairfax New Zealand.
"Special dispensation hasn't been granted because SANZAAR are satisfied that the Chiefs can field a normal, full-strength side of 23 players for the following match."
The Chiefs open their finals campaign with a last-eight clash against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
"Sometimes it's just not meant to be. They say when life gives you lemons turn it into lemonade..." Messam tweeted after the decision was made public late on Sunday.
The Chiefs will also be without centre Seta Tamanivalu, who injured his knee during Saturday night's loss to the Highlanders.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders will be without try-machine Nemani Nadolo in their clash with the Lions in Johannesburg after the Fijian wing tweaked a hamstring against the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders will also be without Test prop Joe Moody (neck) but are hoping Sam Whitelock and Andy Ellis will return from injury-enforced layoffs.