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Liam Messam has not even been considered for the Las Vegas Sevens by New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens.

Stuff quoted Tietjens as calling Messam “right off the pace” at present.

“But in the second game you could see the improvement and I think spending another week with us in Vegas with a plan to playing him in Vancouver will be really good for him.” he said.

Messam played Sevens before making his break in 15s and helped New Zealand to the win the gold (ahead of Nick Cummins’ Australia) in the Delhi Commonwealth Games of 2010. That was six years ago, and Messam has not played sevens since.

The Toshiba forward has been suffering with a calf injury for a while, which has hampered his return to the game. However, Tietjens and Messam himself do hope to see him return in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Sonny Bill Williams is set to play in the Vegas feast. But while he is to play there, Tietjens has lost Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Ben Lam and Ardie Savea to Super Rugby.

Another big carrier of the team, Joe Webber, has been ruled out for the season after surgery on a recurring shoulder injury. This will be a big blow to them, as those flyers have scored the tries and have carried the team.

However, they do see veteran and former captain DJ Forbes returning from injury.

This is the current New Zealand team:

Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Josh Van Lieshout (Counties Manukau), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson, captain, (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki), Regan Ware (Waikato), Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau).


Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena

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